Jari-Matti Latvala says he is ready to fight to try and keep the lead after ending the opening day of Rally d'Italia Sardinia at the head of the field.

The young Finn benefitted from his road position to emerge as the front-runner throughout day one and took four stage wins from six to end the opening day with a lead of just under 40 seconds after both Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb elected to slow on the final stage of the day.

The downside for Latvala is that he will now be left to sweep the road on the second day of the event but he insisted that the pressure was on the drivers behind and not on him as he seeks to try and take a first win of the year.

"It's the first time I've led at the end of a leg since Rally GB last season, so I'm delighted," he said. "I found a better rhythm this afternoon and the set-up change to the car made a big improvement. I don't have much experience of running first in the start order on loose gravel so tomorrow will be a challenge.

"We need to keep cool heads and do a good job because the pressure is on the guys behind. The roads were flowing and that was good for a Finn like me. Loeb began the tactics on the last stage and we reacted well by stepping up our pace to build as big a lead as possible."

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