Hayden Paddon has taken an early lead in the Rally Italia Sardegna after Kris Meeke saw another opportunity scuppered by a roll out of contention on stage five.

Having diced for the lead with Juho Hanninen in the early stages, Meeke had pulled out front by SS4 and was on course to stay ahead at the end of the morning loop when he rolled and damaged his C3 WRC.

Dropping him out of contention, it comes after he crashed out of a front running position in the early stages of the previous Argentina and Portugal events last month.

His misfortune has allowed Hyundai's Paddon to rise into the lead with a 4.3s and 4.4s advantage over Toyota's Hanninen and privateer Ford driver Mads Ostberg respectively, the trio capitalising on their lower running orders in one of the rougher rallies of the season.

Ott Tanak runs fourth for Ford, ahead of title contender Thierry Neuville, who made up ground as the morning progressed to run in fifth place just 19.3secs off the lead.

Jari-Matti Latvala is sixth on the timesheets, ahead of first-on-the-road championship leader Sebastien Ogier and WRC returnee Andreas Mikkelsen, who put in a solid first morning to lead Citroen's efforts after Meeke's exit was preceded by a gearbox failure and retirement for Craig Breen.

Dani Sordo ran with the leaders initially but dropped back to ninth with a suspected turbo issue, while Esapekka Lappi scored his first-ever stage win in SS5 for Toyota as he runs a confidence-building tenth.



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