Sebastien Ogier dominated the first day of action on the Tour de Course, winning three of the four stages on Friday to lead Thierry Neuville by 33.6 seconds.
Ogier opened the day’s action by going nearly 10 seconds faster than anyone on the first sweep of the monster 49km La Porta-Valle di Rostino test, with only Sebastien Loeb’s Citroen able to keep Ogier’s early lead in the single figures.
Loeb’s day would however come to an end early on stage two however, as the Frenchman ended his first Corsica outing since 2008 in a ditch.
The nine-time WRC champion took a corner too fast, losing the rear and going off at the following corner.
Loeb was unable to extract the C3 from the ditch and will therefore rejoin the action tomorrow under Rally 2 rules.
It was a better day for Kris Meeke in the second C3, ending the day third and 5.1 seconds behind Neuville, while Ott Tanak goes into Saturday 5.5 seconds behind Meeke in fourth.
Esapekka Lappi managed to win the final stage of the day, vaulting the Finn from seventh to fifth in the process. Elfyn Evans and Dani Sordo therefore slipped in behind the Finn in sixth and seventh respectively, although the three are covered by less than a second.
The top 10 at the end of Friday is rounded out by the struggling pair of Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen in eighth and ninth, while Bryan Bouffier sits tenth in his second WRC outing of the year in the third M-Sport Fiesta.
Meanwhile in WRC2 Jan Kopecky holds the advantage in his Skoda Fabia R5, building an impressive lead of 20.8 seconds ahead of an encouraging Yoann Bonato in the new Citroen C3 R5, which makes its debut this weekend.
Citroen factory pilot Sebastien Lefebvre showed leading pace in his C3 R5, although ends Friday fourth in WRC2 after suffering from brake problems during the first stage.
The Frenchman lost around a minute but sits just 2.5 seconds behind the second factory Skoda of Ole Christian-Veiby for third at the end of the day.