Kris Meeke from Northern Ireland holds sixth spot following the opening day of the Rally of Sardinia.
The Italy date within the World Rally Championship calendar started with Meeke sitting third at the close of the opening stage.
The Toyota driver dropped 16 seconds behind Teemu Suninen on stage three but jumped up the running order by two across the sixth and managed to protect the position.
He trails leader Dani Sordo by 29.5 seconds, with Sebastien Ogier’s World championship top spot at risk following his crash.
Ogier was already trailing by 30 seconds before he hit a rock which instantly broke his Citroen’s suspension.
Spanish star Sordo coped best with the unpredictable and dry terrain, pulling away over the final three stages to establish a lead of 10.8 seconds over Suninen.
Another title hopeful, Ott Tanak, also made the most of Ogier’s absence by finishing the nine special stages just 0.4 seconds behind the leader.
Thierry Neuville survived a difficult first day blighted by tyre problems to place seventh overnight.