Feb 16 (Reuters) - Thierry Neuville led a Hyundai one-two-three after the first full day of action over the snowy stages of Rally Sweden on Friday.
The Belgian ended the day with a 4.9 second lead over Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen, with New Zealander Hayden Paddon a further 7.2 behind in third place on his first WRC outing of the season.
World champion Sebastien Ogier, winner of last month’s season opener in Monte Carlo for M-Sport Ford, was 12th and two minutes 48 seconds off the pace after 140km of action mostly in Norway.
Fresh snowfalls had made conditions trickier for those starting earlier, with few visible lines to follow.
“We have just tried to stay focused on the job and doing what we can from our middle road position,” said Neuville. “We set ourselves the goal of being consistent and fast, not making any mistakes.
“The cars at the front have suffered a bit in the snowy conditions. Every time I pushed I felt that I was creating faster lines for the guys behind to follow, so it was a tricky balance.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)