Francois Duval leads the Rallye Deutschland following the opening three tests of the event Friday morning, which took place in dry and sunny conditions.

The Belgian was second quickest through both SS1 and SS2, before snatching the lead off his Citroen team-mate, Sebastien Loeb, in SS3. Duval now heads into the mid-day service with a 3.2 second advantage, while Loeb lies second, 27.1 seconds ahead of Rally Finland winner, Marcus Gronholm. Already at this stage the Citroen's are looking unstoppable...

Petter Solberg meanwhile is fourth overall in his Subaru Impreza, despite losing five to seven seconds when he went wide mid-way through Ruwertal-Fell, the opening test of the day.

Roman Kresta heads the Ford attack in fifth, 15 seconds or so up on his team-mate and team leader, Toni Gardemeister. Kresta picked up a puncture in SS3, but luckily for him didn't concede too much time.

Gigi Galli is seventh overall for Mitsubishi, while Markko Martin rounds out the top eight, the last of the provisional points scorers, ahead of Daniel Sola, who is the top privateer runner in ninth.

Martin had been running fourth overall until he hit a wall in SS3, and in the process picked up a puncture. A number of drivers also had issues in SS3, Manfred Stohl ran wide right into the vineyards after his throttle stuck open, while Skoda driver, Alex Bengue did not complete the stage in his Fabia WRC after going off the road. Stephane Sarrazin had a difficult time too - after the handbrake lever in his car broke, and he had difficulty negotiating some of the difficult hairpins. His Subaru team-mate, Chris Atkinson was also in the wars - he struggled all morning with turbo problems and therefore lies well outside the top 10, in 16th place.

In the Junior WRC, Daniel Sordo has set the pace from the off and he now leads his Citroen C2 team-mate, Kris Meeke by 17.6 seconds. Guy Wilks leads the chase, in his Suzuki Swift, followed by Per-Gunnar Andersson and Kosti Katajamaki.

The action now resumes at 14.57 hours local time [13.57 hours British time] - when all three of the morning's tests will be repeated to conclude the opening day.

 

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