The Briton was fastest during the 5.39km Sorbo Ocagnano test by 0.9sec out of Sébastien Ogier’s Citroën C 3. Meeke’s Yaris teammate and tournament leader, Ott Tänak, has been a further 0.5sec behind in third.

Meeke submitted that the three fastest times of the afternoon on the arid asphalt. His opening run was that the benchmark, until he shaved a tenth out of this in his third and final pass.

“Regrettably there are not any points for shake down, that’s a real shame as I have now been fastest on among these year! ” Meeke joked.

“It felt so good this morning and I must try to carry that confidence and interpret it through to the rally, that’s the crucial part. We tried an alternative setting on the final run and it still felt very good, so we got two fine possibilities for the rally.

“It turned out to be an alternative damper which provides a different type of setup. Both seemed to work quite nicely, and with different traits with this rally I presume we are able to use that,” he added.

Dani Sordo has been the leading Hyundai I 20 driver at fourth, 2.2sec off the pace. Jari-Matti Latvala guaranteed a third Yaris at the best five, while Elfyn Evans completed the best six at a Ford Fiesta.

The Top times were

inch.Sébastien OgierCitroën c 3+ 0.9sec
3.Ott Tänak Yaris+ 1.4sec
4.Dani SordoHyundai i20+ 2.2sec
5.Elfyn EvansFord Fiesta+ 2.5sec
7.Esapekka LappiCitroën c 3+ 2.7sec
8.Sébastien LoebHyundai i20+ 2.8sec
9.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai i20+ 3.4sec
10.Ford Fiesta+ 4.6sec

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