Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier share the lead in Finland after the first morning of the latest round of the World Rally Championship.

The pair couldn't be split through the three short stages that made up the Thursday morning loop, with championship leader Ogier going quickest on both SS1 and SS3, but Neuville topping SS2 to ensure the duo headed back to the regroup with the same time on the board.

"If you look at last year, Neuville was fast," Ogier admitted after stage three. "I'm not really surprised, but he is doing a good job."

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Neuville himself had earlier revealed he may have been a bit 'too careful' on the opening stages given he is using a new pacenote system this year compared to 2012.

Having elected to run last on the road, Mikko Hirvonen sits third as leading Citroen driver, just 1.1s off the pace despite admitting that he wasn't relaxed enough behind the wheel.

Mads Ostberg, Evgeny Novikov and Andreas Mikkelsen round out a top six covered by little more than ten seconds ahead of the repeat run through the stages this afternoon.

While the opening loop was short on mileage, it was high on drama however for Jari-Matti Latvala, who had been tipped by Volkswagen team-mate Ogier as one to watch.

The Finn was on the pace in SS1 but then came through SS2 with damage to the rear of his car.

"Just before the wide road, a right hand junction over crest, the car lifted a little and we went wide," he said. "We hit a stone and broke the suspension. We have to see what parts we have in the car."

Latvala was able to carry out repairs but started SS3 late and then dropped three minutes bringing his damaged car to the stage end; the added penalty for the late start putting him more than eight minutes off the pace already and sending him plummeting down the standings.

Elsewhere, an encouraging start for Kris Meeke in the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT entry has seen him open up a 15 second advantage over the factory Citroen of Dani Sordo.

In WR2, Jari Ketomaa sits tenth overall and leads the class ahead of Hayden Paddon and Elfyn Evans on the first appearance in the World Rally Championship for the new Ford Fiesta R5.

Rally Finland: Overall standings after Stage 3 (Top ten):

1. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 14m 07.7s M
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 00.0s M
3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 01.1s M
4. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 02.9s M
5. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 08.3s M
6. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 10.4s M
7. Kris Meeke Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +00m 11.9s M
8. Juho Hanninen Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 12.9s
9. Dani Sordo Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 26.6s M
10. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 35.8s WRC2

Others

11. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 36.2s M
12. PG Andersson Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 39.7s
13. Jarkko Nikara MINI John Cooper Works WRC +00m 42.4s
14. Riku Tahko MINI John Cooper Works WRC +00m 43.1s
15. Hayden Paddon Skoda Fabia S2000 +00m 49.2s WRC2
16. Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 50.3s WRC2
17. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC +00m 55.1s WRC2
89. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +08m 19.6s M

WRC2 standings after Stage 3 (Top 3):

1. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta R5 14m 43.5s WRC2
2. Hayden Paddon Skoda Fabia S2000 +00m 13.4s WRC2
3. Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 14.5s WRC2

WRC3 standings after Stage 3 (Top 3):

1. Alistair Fisher Citroen DS3 R3T 15m 36.2s WRC3
2. Keith Cronin Citroen DS3 R3T +00m 10.8s WRC3
3. Jussi Vainionp?? Citroen DS3 R3T +00m 24.5s WRC3

JWRC standings after Stage 3 (Top 3):

1. Andreas Amberg Ford Fiesta R2 16m 08.3s JWRC
2. Sander P?rn Ford Fiesta R2 +00m 05.3s JWRC
3. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta R2 +00m 06.8s JWRC

Notable retirements:

None

*denotes due to re-start under the Rally 2 regulations

all times unofficial