Title winner Sebastien Ogier enjoyed the perfect start to Wales Rally GB after topping the times in qualifying for the 2013 WRC season finale.
The Volkswagen man was quickest in the 3.11km test at Llandegla to earn himself the chance to select his position in the running order first when the cars return to the Deeside service park.
Ogier was a fraction of a second quicker than the Ford of Thierry Neuville, who was just 0.07secs slower ahead of his final outing at the wheel of his M-Sport run Fiesta, with the Belgian having already been confirmed with Hyundai for 2014.
Evgeny Novikov was third fastest ahead of the second VW in the hands of Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Ostberg's Fiesta, with Mikko Hirvonen the best of the Citroen drivers in sixth.
Robert Kubica was an impressive seventh ahead of Dani Sordo, with the Spaniard already hampered with news that he will carry a five minute penalty
into the event for using a ninth chassis.
Andreas Mikkelsen and Martin Prokop rounded out the top ten, with the cars now heading back to service where the starting order will be revealed at 13.30 local time.
Three stages will then signal the start of the event this evening, starting with the 6.95km run through Gwydyr at 19.05.
“We could not really have hoped for a much better start to Wales Rally GB,” said Volkswagen motorsport director Jost Capito. “And it could not be more typical: gale-force winds and pouring rain are typical of Wales. Making such a promising start to this WRC classic, with first, fourth and ninth in qualifying, rally whets the appetite.
"The first 25 kilometres of special stages are scheduled for tonight. Having already won all the World Championship titles for Volkswagen, our drivers can approach them without any tactical considerations. We are looking forward to some great rallying.”
Wales Rally GB - Qualifying stage:
1. Sebastien Ogier
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 1m 52.708s
2. Thierry Neuville
Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0.070s
3. Evgeny Novikov
Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1.889s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +2.168s
5. Mads Ostberg
Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2.759s
6. Mikko Hirvonen
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +2.979s
7. Robert Kubica
Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +3.381s
8. Dani Sordo
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +3.483s
9. Andreas Mikkelsen
Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +3.732s
10. Martin Prokop
Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6.183s
all times unofficial