(Reuters) – Finland’s Esapekka Lappi led world champion team mate Sebastien Ogier by 17.7 seconds in a Citroen one-two after a rocky first full day at Rally Turkey on Friday.
Belgian Thierry Neuville climbed from seventh overnight to third and a further 0.7 seconds behind for Hyundai, with Toyota’s championship leader Ott Tanak in eighth after losing time with a puncture.
Estonian Tanak, a minute and 37 seconds off Lappi’s time, leads Neuville by 33 points after 10 of 14 rounds with Ogier third overall and 40 adrift.
Afternoon rain, following morning heat, added to the challenge on the dirt stages north of Marmaris.
“I’ve never seen this kind of stage, I had at least 15 huge hits on the car,” Lappi said after the day’s sixth and penultimate Cetibeli 2 stage.
“We’ve had no dramas so far, apart from a stall in a hairpin. A 17 second lead is a lot in Finland, but on this rally even one minute is not a lot.”
Saturday covers a further six stages with the rally finishing on Sunday.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)