Citroen teammates Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen are in control of Brother Rally New Zealand.
Loeb leads Hirvonen by four seconds after today's opening eight stages around Raglan.
Ford's Evgeny Novikov is third, more than one a half minutes back.
It's been a day to forget for top qualifier Jari-Matti Latvala.
He's back in ninth place, almost five minutes behind Loeb after getting caught up in a fence when he was running third.
Meanwhile, Hayden Paddon is the leading Kiwi in 12th despite gear box and clutch problems.
Paddon's the only driver in the S2000 class to have completed the opening day.
Photo: Mikko Hirvonen (Photosport)