Poland's Michal Solowow holds sixth in his Peugeot with Mathias Viaene seventh and Oleksandr Saliuk eighth on his Ypres debut in a Dream Team Ukraine Fiesta. Robert Barrable wasn't satisfied with the set-up of his Škoda Ireland-backed Fabia, but is nevertheless on course to claim a top ten finish on his second successive Ypres Rally appearance, despite an overshoot on stage two.
Andreas Aigner heads the battle for IRC Production Cup honours in his Subaru Impreza R4 STI after turbo failure slowed Bob Colsoul on the final stage. Aigner reported a bad vibration and a loss of brakes on stage three and an overshoot in the low-lying sun on stage six. Cédric De Cecco is second, with Kris Princen third in his Renault Mégane RS. A replacement gearbox at mid-evening service transformed the performance of Jasper Van den Heuvel's Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
Princen is also eligible for the IRC 2WD Cup and tops the division with Martin Kangur 3.6s behind in his Honda Civic Type R. Mathieu Arzeno is third with former IRC 2WD Cup champion Harry Hunt on course to extend his title lead in fourth position.
Florion Gonon's first start in the IRC in a Super 2000 car ended after a handful of corners of the opening stage when the Swiss crashed and rolled his Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 207.
Saturday's action consists of twelve stages and begins with the 26.75-kilometre Heuvelland stage at 1043hrs local time. The finish is scheduled for 2240hrs in Ypres's main square, where thousands of fans are expected.