Former World Rally champion Petter Solberg has described his start to Rally Argentina as his best morning in four years, with the Norwegian's private Citroen currently fourth, just seven seconds off the lead of the event.
Ford man Mikko Hirvonen leads the rally halfway through the opening day, but it was Solberg who delighted tens of thousands of South American rally fans with a stirring drive on the roads north of Cordoba in central Argentina.
Solberg set the fastest time overall on the fourth test, despite running a 2005-specification Xsara WRC.
"It's been fantastic," said Solberg. "Not just my best morning in this Citroen, it's my best morning in four years. I've loved driving the car today."
With the anticipated rain not coming overnight, it was expected the crews further back on the road would take advantage of a surface swept clear of the loose gravel by the cars ahead.
Solberg, who started the day fourth on the road, admitted some sections were cleaning, but added that advantage was wiped away by the dust problem.
"We had to slow right down twice this morning," he said. "I just couldn't see a thing. But when I could see again, we were pushing like hell. That's the way I've got to drive if I want to keep up with the new C4s and Fords."