Click here for Rallye Deutschland leaderboard after Day 1, SS8

Ott Tanak and Andreas Mikkelsen are split by less than six seconds at the end of SS8 in Rallye Deutschland as the pair continued to battle for the lead, while Thierry Neuville found form to jump from sixth to third.

After Mikkelsen emerged to the front after SS4, to lead his first WRC event since 2016, the new Citroen driver was eventually reeled in by Tanak in the M-Sport Ford to takes a 5.7-second advantage going into the second day of the German event.

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Neuville battled back from an underwhelming start to Rallye Deutschland on Friday’s afternoon stages by leaping from sixth to third for Hyundai and continue to apply the pressure on world title rival Sebastien Ogier who sits fourth but less than three seconds behind at the end of SS8.

Elfyn Evans maintained his charge in the top five for M-Sport Ford, albeit almost a minute behind leader Tanak, after Rally Finland winner Esapekka Lappi saw his event effectively ended on SS7 when he hit a rock which forced him into retirement for Toyota.

Lappi’s exit saw Toyota team-mate Juho Hanninen promoted to sixth place and ahead of Craig Breen for Citroen, with Jari-Matti Latvala struggling for performance from his Toyota Yaris WRC machine. Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) and Jan Kopecky (Skoda WRC2) round out the top ten contenders with Dani Sordo (Hyundai) and Kris Meeke (Citroen) already out of the running.