Welshman Elfyn Evans became the first British driver to lead on home soil for 16 years after the opening leg of the Wales Rally GB.
The 28-year-old, born in Dolgellau in north-west Wales, established a commanding lead of almost 25 seconds by winning three of six stages in his Ford Fiesta and in doing do matched the feat of the late Colin McRae back in 2001.
Immediately behind him the battle for second place - and the drivers' world championship - saw three drivers separated by just 12.5 seconds, with Frenchman Sebastien Ogier edging ahead of Finland's Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville after the Belgian picked up a 10-second time penalty for a late check-in for Thursday night's curtain-raiser.
"It's obviously nice to be leading the way in Wales, and it's a good position to be in overnight," Evans said.
"The conditions were really challenging; the grip levels were so changeable and we had a bit of understeer, but I think that was the same for everyone.
"There's obviously pressure leading your home event, but it's all going well at the moment.
"Tomorrow will be familiar territory for me, but you never know how it's going to work out and there's still a long way to go - it's certainly not going to be plain sailing."
Friday saw the crews tackle two runs through Hafren, Sweet Lamb and Myherin special stages either side of a remote service in Newtown where the public watched the highly trained technicians preparing the state-of-the-art rally cars for further high speed competition.
Saturday's route through Gartheiniog is as close as it gets to Evans' home on the southern edge of Snowdonia National Park, with the stages also taking in Cholmondeley Castle in Shropshire and night-time runs through Aberhirnant and Dyfnant.
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