Catalunya Rally leader Sebastien Loeb said he does not expect to enjoy the same advantage through this afternoon's re-run stages.
The Frenchman had expected to lose out by being first on the road and forced to sweep the loose gravel from the surface, but instead the seven-time champion enjoyed the opportunity to run in the clear air, while those behind him struggled in the dust.
"It was cleaning a lot this morning," said Loeb, "but for once I was not handicapped running first on the road. I think I have waited quite a long time for this, haven't I?
"We lost a little bit on the second and third stage this morning and I think we'll probably lose a little bit this afternoon. At the end of the day, it will be quite equal."
Loeb goes into the afternoon defending a 5.3 second lead over Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala. Loeb's team-mate Sebastien Ogier is running third, 11.9 seconds off the front.