Unphased by the relentlessly rough gravel roads, the Citroën C3 R5 man was 6.1sec quicker than his nearest challenger on the opening Içmiler speed test before going on to extend his overnight lead to 12.4sec in SS2.
Championship rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz was second in a Skoda Fabia Rally2, still within striking distance of the leader and ready to mount an attack during Saturday’s much longer leg.
Emilio Fernandez rounded out the top three in another Skoda, a further 42.6sec adrift of the rally leader. The Chilean star knows that drama is never far away in Turkey so will be ready to pounce if any of the frontrunners hit trouble.
Sean Johnston showed great promise with second on the first stage. However, the WRC 3 rookie was dealt a harsh blow when his Citroën caught fire on the following test and he retired.
Following Johnston’s incident, organisers made the decision to cancel the stage for remaining crews and those affected will be given notional times. As such, the current leaderboard remains provisional at the time of writing.
Despite losing a wheel on the day's opening test on his Ford Fiesta R5, Italian pilot ‘Pedro’ and his co-driver Emanuele Baldaccini were able to make running repairs on the car and were ready for SS2 prior to its cancellation.