Ott Tanak is the sole remaining Pirelli Star driver after the opening loop of today's Rally of Turkey.
The protege of five-time world rally winner Markko Martin is 10th overall and already more than a minute ahead in the Group N category after a trouble-free drive through the morning. The same cannot be said for the rest of the scheme's fleet of Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Xs. Nick Georgiou was the first to go, with the power steering failing on his car on the way to the first stage. Kiwi Hayden Paddon then crashed on the first stage, while Peter Horsey and Alex Raschi both went off the road in SS2. Raschi's car is recoverable, but Horsey's rolled Lancer caught fire and is not expected to re-start tomorrow.
The scheme's supervisor Phil Short said: "It's been a difficult morning. We've seen Hayden's car, which has lost a front corner, but that will be fine to start tomorrow. We think Alex might need a gearbox, it seems he might have broken reverse gear trying to get out of the ditch. Nick's car should be fine, but we don't know exactly what has happened with the steering, and Peter's car needed the fire truck sending in, so it's unlikely to start tomorrow.
"Ott has driven very well. He's been quite calm and brought the car to service in a strong position."
Tanak admitted his pace had been measured this morning.
"I've been driving around 70 or 80 percent, no more," he said. "The World Rally Cars ahead have been pulling some rocks into the road, so we've had to avoid a few of them, but it's been a good morning. I didn't want to make any mistakes, it's important just to get through the stages."