Kris Meeke will take a slender lead into the first day proper of Rally Argentina after topping the times on the opening superspecial stage through the streets of Carlos Paz on Friday.
In front of a capacity crowd of 12,000 fans, Meeke completed the all-asphalt 3.30-kilometre course, held in wet conditions, in a time of 2min 32.8sec at the wheel of his Peugeot UK 207 Super 2000, giving him a lead of 1.4secs heading into stage two.
"It was a good enough run through but it's one of those stages when you can lose everything, particularly when the rain came in,” he said “It was impossible to judge the grip so we might have been a bit wrong to have shaved our tyres so much. The fans were incredible, I really enjoyed it."
Bruno Magalhaes, in his Peugeot Portugal 207, was second fastest having recovered from illness in the lead up to the rally, while Guy Wilks completed the top three as the highest-placed Skoda Fabia driver.
Intercontinental Rally Challenge leader Juho Hanninen, who was paired against Meeke on the street course, was fourth fastest in the first of two factory Fabias. His time was identical to that of team-mate Jan Kopecky, who was classified fifth.
Juan Manuel Marchetto was the leading Argentine driver in sixth overall in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, with countryman Federico Villagra seventh. However, Villagra will face an anxious wait to learn if his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 can be restored to full working order after he reported a problem with his car's gearbox at the end of the stage.
Saturday's action features seven stages with the opening 16.57-kilometre Las Bajadas-Villa Del Dique stage getting underway at 08:13hrs local time.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, who is tenth overnight, will be the first to tackle the stages in his Fabia. Hanninen will go second with Wilks third, Villagra fourth and overnight leader Meeke fifth.