BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala has admitted that it is a 'big surprise' for him to have finished day 1 of the Corona Rally Mexico in the lead, almost 10 seconds up on Sebastien Loeb.

The 22-year-old, who became the youngest driver in history the sport to win a round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Sweden a few weeks ago, led from the off.

It was a great performance especially as he and team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen were the first two cars in the order and as a result endured the worst of the slippery conditions on the opening loop.

Latvala finished the first three stages with 4.4 second advantage and he then more than doubled that margin in the afternoon, finishing the leg with a 9.6 second lead.

"I started with plenty of confidence after Sweden and felt relaxed. It's a big surprise for me to lead though because my pre-event target was to look for a podium. It's more than I expected or dreamed about," he noted.

"I kept a good pace all day and the whole package has worked well - car, driver, co-driver and tyres. I had some big impacts on stones this morning but Pirelli's tyres stood up well."

Asked how difficult it will be to maintain his lead on day 2, especially as he will run first in the order, Jari conceded that while it will probably be difficult, he is not overly worried.

"It will be interesting to be first in the start order tomorrow on the gravely roads, but I was second today and there's not such a big difference," he added. "I don't want to think about it too much, I just want to get into the car and see what happens.

"The plan is to drive in the same way as I did on the slippery roads this morning. The stages are tricky so I need to find the same relaxed feeling."

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