World rally champion Sebastien Ogier managed to hold off a stern challenge from Kris Meeke to take the lead after day one of the Wales Rally GB on Friday.
Volkswagen driver Ogier held a 12.9-second lead after the morning stages of the final round of the season, but struggled on the 32.14-kilometre Hafren route on stage four.
That allowed Citroen's Meeke to cut the gap to just 7.7secs, but Ogier stretched the lead again in the sixth and final stage of the day and takes a 13.5 secs advantage over Meeke into Saturday's stages.
Frenchman Ogier will have to be wary of the muddy conditions, though, with Meeke still well in contention.
There was disappointment for Ogier's Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, who crashed out on stage two and left his car stuck in a ditch.
Another Volkswagen driver, Andreas Mikkelsen, managed to stay clear of Mads Ostberg (Citroen) in the battle for third, while Dani Sordo (Hyundai) rounds off the top five.