for Rally Poland leaderboard after SS5
Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen leads Rally Poland after Friday's opening loop, although Hayden Paddon and Ott Tanak are both a threat.
Mikkelsen, who was second quickest on Thursday night in the short 2.50km Mikolajki Arena 1 SSS, slipped to third initially this morning, with Tanak quickest in SS2 to put DMACK on top in the WRC for the very first time.
Mikkelsen, however, was then fastest himself in SS3, leaving him 3.6secs up on the Estonian, before going second in SS4 and SS5 to maintain his position at the head of the field. The Norwegian now heads to the mid-day halt with a 2.6sec lead over Paddon, with Tanak third, 3.4secs further back.
"Not so good for me, I was not really on it," Mikkelsen told the official WRC site after SS5. "Overall though the morning has not been so bad."
Tanak, who was quickest again in SS4, slipped behind Paddon in SS5, with the New Zealander setting the pace in his Hyundai i20 WRC.
"The times are pretty close near the top. I had a lot of understeer in here [SS5]. We have plenty of things to improve on in the afternoon," Paddon remarked.
"I'm quite happy with the morning but the second half here [in SS5] was really dry and we struggled with grip,” Tanak added. “This afternoon we have to be smart with our tyre choices. We should be okay.”
Meanwhile, Championship leader Sebastien Ogier holds fourth, 3.3secs off the final podium position, despite having to run first in the start order.
"Really, really dry and slippery now. Very difficult,” he complained after SS5. “Not much chance to fight but I do what I can.”
Overnight leader Thierry Neuville is next up in fifth, reporting an issue with a front-left damper, ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala in sixth, the Finn again unable to find “the feeling” and also losing a little time with a puncture in SS4.
Stephane Lefebvre heads the Abu Dhabi Total WRT DS 3 WRCs in P7, just 0.1secs off Latvala, and only 3.9secs up on team-mate Craig Breen.
Behind, M-Sport's Eric Camilli and Mads Ostberg round out the top-ten, the latter losing over ten seconds in SS5 when he went off the road, with Dani Sordo struggling and only 11th.
In WRC2, Pontus Tidemand leads, having been quickest this morning in three of the four tests. Teemu Suinen is second, 6.5secs back, and Esapekka Lappi lies third, giving Skoda an early 1-2-3.
Rally Poland now continues this afternoon with repeat-runs through all four of this morning's tests, followed by another blast through the Mikolajki Arena SSS this evening.
SS6, the 6.52km Chmielewo test, is due to start at 13.55 hours local time [12.55 hours UK time].