Olbia - Sebastien Loeb, who claimed his ninth successive world drivers title on home ground in France a fortnight ago, led the Rally of Italy in Sardinia after Thursday's opening two specials.
The French Citroen driver posted the fastest time in the second stage with Ford's Finnish driver Jari-Mati Latvala winning the morning opener but then losing time with a puncture.
Loeb leads by one second from his Finnish team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen.
Standings of the Rally of Italy after Thursday's two special stages:
1. Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Citroen DS3 37min 59.1, 2. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Citroen DS3 at 1.1sec, 3. Petter Solberg (NOR) Ford Fiesta 13.9, 4. Thierry Neuville (BEL) Citroen DS3 26.2, 5. Mads Ostbergn (NOR) Ford Fiesta 33.5, 6. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Ford Fiesta 42.1, 7. Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Ford Fiesta 51.2, 8. Chris Atkinson (AUS) Mini Cooper 1:28.9, 9. Ott Tanak (EST) Ford Fiesta 1:31.4
Special stage winners: Loeb (SS1), Hirvonen (SS2)