Frenchman Julien Maurin, driving the latest specification M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000, which boasts an uprated engine, completes the top 10 after reporting problems with his brakes and steering on the opening stage.
Skoda Sweden's Patrik Sandell completed the opening day of his IRC debut in 13th place behind Jean-Mathieu Leandri and Jean-Francois Succi respectively. Sandell had targeted a podium finish prior to the start but said he simply hadn't gone fast enough on stage one. A new steering rack for stage two allowed him to up his pace, however. Toshi Arai is 16th after stage two on his debut in Subaru's new R4-specification challenger.
In the battle for IRC Production Cup honours, Florian Gonon, driving a Subaru Impreza WRX, heads Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer driver Jean-Marc Sanchez by 51.3s, with Yannick Rossi third in his Lancer. Irishman Eamonn Boland had been expected to challenge in his Lancer but stopped on stage one with a mechanical failure.
Two stage wins for Pierre-Antoine Guglielmi has powered the Clio R3 to the top of the IRC 2WD Cup classification by more than one minute ahead of Stefano Albertini in his Megane R4. Defending champion Harry Hunt is in fifth place.