Elfyn Evans has become the surprise early leader with victory on the 2.5km sprint opener at Rally Poland in the DMACK M-Sport Ford by beating Hyundai Motorsport's Thierry Neuville by almost a full second.

After heavy rain the region had soaked the course making it very muddy and quick to rut, the real test of conditions will come during the longer stages during the weekend but Evans took advantage of the sprint opener to gain an early lead by 0.8s on shakedown-topper Neuville.

Sebastien Ogier in the M-Sport Ford continues to hold his presence at the sharp end in third, 0.9s off Evans, with Jari-Matti Latvala leading the Toyota Gazoo Racing charge in fourth as winner from last time out in Italy Ott Tanak completed the top five contenders.

Esapekka Lappi heads up a three-way tie for sixth place with he, Hayden Paddon and Stephane Lefebvre all posting the same SS1 time.

One-tenth behind that trio his Andreas Mikkelsen, who is replacing Kris Meeke in the Citroen line-up for Rally Poland as Dani Sordo rounds out the top ten for Hyundai.