In the Junior World Rally Championship category, Sebastien Ogier has, just like Loeb, his fellow countryman, been in a class of his own. Ogier was quickest in five of the six stages and finishes day 1 more than 40 seconds ahead of fellow Citroen C2 S1600 runner, Martin Prokop.
Alessandro Bettega is third in his Renault, 35 seconds further back, followed by Michal Kosciuszko and Aaron Burkart - Ogier's two main threats for the title. Jaan Molder, Shaun Gallagher and Kevin Abbring came in sixth, seventh and eighth.
The action now continues on Saturday, with three stages - each run twice - and 128 competitive kilometres on the bill. SS7 - El Priorat / La Ribera d'Ebre 1, the longest test of the event at 38.27 kilometres - kicks off the day at 08.44 hours [local time].