Mikko Hirvonen says he is looking forward to the ongoing battle for victory in Rally Argetina after a dramatic start to the South American event saw as many as five drivers fighting for the lead.

The BP Ford Abu Dhabi team leader had moved into the lead of the event by the mid-day service on day one despite the dusty and rocky conditions, but them became embroiled in a frantic battle for the lead with Dani Sordo during the afternoon loop.

Sordo took the lead on the first stage of the afternoon only for Hirvonen to then move back ahead on SS7. The pair then shared top spot following the penultimate test of the day only for Sordo to finally secure the lead on the final stage.

It means Hirvonen will go into day two little more than five seconds away from the lead, with the Finn ready for battle on Saturday.

"I didn't attack too hard because the roads were too rough and I wanted to preserve the car," he said. "It was very rough this afternoon, although the rain kept the dust down. None of the drivers had any split times during the final stage because of a problem so I just drove at a good speed.

"Maybe it would be better to be behind Sebastien Loeb in the start order tomorrow, but the surface is soft so hopefully road sweeping will not play too much of a part. I'm looking forward to a good fight."