Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier heads the pack on Rally Poland at the end of the short opening day, having re-taken the lead this evening on the 2.50 km Mikolajki super special.

Ogier won the very first test this afternoon, but slipped back to second overall in SS2, when he was 'only' third fastest. However, the Frenchman posted a brilliant time in SS3, completing it in 1m 48.4s, 2.7 seconds up on his closest rival and 3.2 up on Andreas Mikkelsen, who had led after the second test. Ogier will now go into the overnight service with a 2.8 second advantage.

"I really put the pedal to the metal right from the start today," said the 2013 World Rally Champion. I had a good pace and I had a lot of confidence in my pace notes. On tracks like the ones here in particular, that can make a big difference, because the stages here around Mikolajki are incredibly fast. I really pushed myself and am now in the lead, in spite of my starting position. Overall, Julien [Ingrassia] and I have got off to a great start in Rally Poland. Let's hope things continue like that."

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"I had a great start to Rally Poland, but it was anything but easy," Mikkelsen added. "I must have made a mistake in my pace notes during the first stage and slammed on the brakes in the middle of a straight. I could also have been a bit faster in the second stage, and I was initially taking the crests very carefully. But on the whole I'm very happy with my driving style and I hit a clean line today."

Kris Meeke meanwhile is third in his Citroen, just 0.8 seconds up Juho Hanninen, who in turn is just 1.1 seconds in front of Mads Ostberg.

"We didn't think that the stages would be quite so fast," said Meeke. "As a result, we sometimes ended up being a gear higher than what we had marked in the pace notes. I'm pleased with how I have started the race. It was still very slippery, although there wasn't any real sweeping this afternoon."

"We have had a good start to the rally in terms of times even if I feel that there is still room to improve my driving," added Hanninen, who was quickest in SS2. "The car has been fantastic and I could get into a rhythm. To claim another stage win is great but our focus is to get through the stages and to accumulate data and information for the team.

"It's good to be driving here in Poland - and tomorrow also in Lithuania - and to have such great support."

Behind, Hyundai duo Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon lie in sixth and seventh - albeit more than 10 seconds off the fight for third - with Jari-Matti Latvala eighth and Mikko Hirvonen ninth.

"It's been tough out there this afternoon," Hirvonen admitted. "I don't feel as though we are driving too badly, but as you can see from the times, something isn't quite right. The conditions are a little different to what we had on the test and the set-up of the car might be a bit too soft so we'll make some changes to that for tomorrow.

"If you are even the slightest bit hesitant into the corners on a rally as fast as this, you lose so much time. We need to do something for tomorrow, and I will certainly give it my all and try to get back on the pace."

Martin Prokop completes the top ten followed by Henning Solberg and local hero, Robert Kubica. Kubica rolled his Fiesta RS WRC car in SS2, but was able to continue, although he lost around 28 seconds: "I was happy with our pace on the first stage, but then on the second [stage] we rolled and lost a lot of time. I was braking over a crest, the car unloaded and we went straight into a ditch. I should have gone straight on but I tried to recover it and we rolled. Luckily, there were lots of spectators to get us back on the stage and there was very little damage to the car," noted the Pole.

"Of course it's a shame that we made that mistake, but I'm happy with the pace we were showing. I want to continue with the same satisfaction on gravel that I had in Sardinia. If we can continue with the pace that we have shown this afternoon then it could be another good gravel event for us."

In WRC2, Ott Tanak holds the class lead, 3.9 seconds up on Jari Ketomaa. Karl Kruuda is third.

Rally Poland now continues on Friday with seven stages on the bill in total, four of which will be run in neighbouring Lithuania. Day 2 starts with the 12.89 km Wieliczki test, SS4, which is due to start at 09.10 hours local time [08.10 hours UK time].

Rally Poland: Overall standings after Stage 3 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 17m 49.2s M
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 02.8s M
3. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 07.0s M
4. Juho Hanninen Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 07.8s M
5. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 08.9s M
6. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +00m 21.1s M
7. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +00m 23.2s M
8. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 23.5s M
9. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 29.4s M
10. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 31.0s M

Others

11. Henning Solberg Adapta Motorsport Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 37.1s
12. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 37.3s M
13. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 38.3s M
14. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 42.2s WRC2
15. Jari Ketomaa Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 46.1s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 3 (Top 3):

1. Ott Tanak Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 18m 31.4s WRC2
2. Jari Ketomaa Drive DMACK Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 03.9s WRC2
3. Karl Kruuda Peugeot 208 T16 +00m 31.0s WRC2

Notable retirements:

None.

M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial