Driving a Skoda Fabia Rally2, the Finn was unmatchable on both the day’s speed tests and built up 10.9sec of breathing space between him and nearest challenger Teemu Asunmaa on the superfast snow stages.
“The day was quite okay, but the conditions were much rougher than we expected them to be,” explained Lindholm. “We’re in the lead, so all in all everything is okay,” he added.
Estonian star Egon Kaur split a Finnish-dominated top five, 10.4sec behind Teemu Asunmaa in a Volkswagen Polo, leaving fourth-placed Eerik Pietarinen with some catching up to do 12.4sec further back. Home hero Mikko Heikkilä was just 1.2sec behind in his similar car.
Previous World Rallycross champions Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström were sixth and seventh respectively.
Kristoffersson made the stronger start of the Swedish pair and briefly held third after the opening stage in his Polo, whilst Ekström was simply happy to still be running after getting his Fabia stuck in a snowbank on this morning’s shakedown warm-up.
Skoda man Ville Ruokanen trailed the leaders by 1min 27.9sec in eighth, closely followed by WRC3 debutant Fabrizio Zaldivar who ended Friday’s action 15.4sec behind in his similar car.
Lithuanian pilot Vladas Jurkevičius completed the top ten just 7sec back from Zaldivar in another Fabia.
• Full coverage from Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.