Ole Christian Veiby turned the tables on Pontus Tidemand to lead WRC 2 at Orlen 74th Rally Poland on Friday night.
Tidemand has an unblemished record of four wins from four outings this season, but the Swede gave second best to the youngster in the opening leg of the four-day event.
Tidemand won last night’s short curtain-raiser at Mikolajki Arena, but the 21-year-old Norwegian won three of this morning’s speed tests to move into a 11.0sec advantage in a Skoda Fabia R5.
Championship leader Tidemand halved the deficit, but Veiby held on to take a 5.1sec lead into Saturday’s longest leg of the four-day event.
Torrential rain, driving winds and thick mud brought appalling conditions but Veiby was undaunted. “It was a really good day for us. I like these stages and it was an enjoyable day. The conditions were extremely hard and in some places I had no control,” he said.
Britain’s Gus Greensmith held a surprise third for much of the day in a Ford Fiesta R5. However, he retired three stages from the end with a broken steering arm after hitting a gulley.
His demise allowed Quentin Gilbert into third in another Fabia R5. The Frenchman, returning after a spectacular crash in Portugal last month, was more than two minutes off the lead.
Benito Guerra was fourth, another minute back, with Yoann Bonato and Pole Wojciech Chuchala close behind and completing the top six.
Osian Pryce [below] and Hubert Ptaszek both retired after rolling heavily, while Simone Tempestini stopped in SS3.
Pedro Heller made a good start but the Chile driver slipped back after damaging his steering against a hay bale, while Fabio Andolfi fell to the back of the pack with electronic problems in his Hyundai i20’s gearbox.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Orlen 74th Rally Poland.