Mikko Hirvonen leads the Rally Argentina at the halfway point of day one, but is under increasing pressure from Sebastien Loeb.
The rally has seen four different leaders already, and after 45 competitive miles just 9.1 seconds covers the top five.
Loeb had won last night's superspecial, but was supplanted by Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala after the first fully-fledged stage today – despite the Finn having vowed to drive conservatively in Argentina following his massive crash in Portugal.
Latvala then moderated his pace, falling back to third after SS3 as Dani Sordo (Citroen) and Hirvonen moved into first and second.
"Everything is still good," said Latvala. "This stage was a bit of a drama last year and there was some dust, so I took it a bit easier. Our target is to be around third or fourth. Even though we were fast in the first stage, that's not our target."
Sordo was only ahead for one stage before struggling with dust hanging in the air from the cars ahead. As he lost a little time, Hirvonen and Loeb went ahead.
"There's still a long way to go but it's been a good morning," said Hirvonen, who led Loeb by 0.6sec and Sordo by 3sec by the end of SS5. "The dust was a bit of a problem in the first stage of the morning, but it's not so bad now."
Loeb felt he had lost a little time thanks to running first on the road, but that it was not a major issue on this event. "The road position is not so bad, but we are cleaning a bit for sure," he said.
As Latvala continued to ease off, Petter Solberg moved up to fourth in his self-run Citroen, having taken his outdated car to a surprise stage win on SS4.
"It's shocking, I can't believe it," said Solberg. "I went back to the front damper set-up I had in Cyprus, which I thought was wrong, but it works unbelievably. I'm very surprised, I'm enjoying it, I'm having fun, and this is going to be a very good weekend I think."
Henning Solberg was second quickest on SS5 and completes the early top six for Stobart Ford, ahead of his team-mate Matthew Wilson.
Local hero Federico Villagra holds eighth for Munchi's Ford, with the two Citroen Junior cars entered on this event back in distant ninth and 10th places.
Conrad Rautenback is ninth, despite a scare when he hit a large rock in SS3.
"These cars are so strong," he said. "If this was a Group N car, we'd be sitting in a ditch somewhere with the rear wheel hanging off."
His teammate Sebastien Ogier runs a further 5sec back.
"We started too slowly, I think," Ogier admitted, "but we're still here and the rally is long."
Pos Driver Car Time
1. Mikko Hirvonen Ford 54m17.2s
2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 0.6s
3. Dani Sordo Citroen + 5.0s
4. Petter Solberg Citroen + 7.0s
5. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 9.1s
6. Henning Solberg Ford + 24.3s
7. Matthew Wilson Ford +1m00.9s
8. Federico Villagra Ford +1m31.3s
9. Conrad Rautenbach Citroen +2m01.3s
10. Sebastien Ogier Citroen +2m06.8s