The Irish crew of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle are in second place in the Monte Carlo Rally after day one of the 2014 World Championship season.
The Citroen duo are 38.8 seconds behind the Ford of Bryan Bouffier, who assumed the lead just before the end of the morning loop.
Former F1 racer Robert Kubica is third in his Ford, less than a second behind Meeke, with reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier back in fourth.
The Volkswagen driver made a slow start to his title defence in the morning, but he got his tyre choice right later in the day as rainfall ensured there was not as much snow as his rivals had expected.
Mads Ostberg was fifth for Citroen, with Wales' Elfyn Evans a solid sixth on his full WRC debut.
Jari-Matti Latvala was a disappointing seventh in the second Volkswagen, with Mikko Hirvonen eighth on his return to Ford.
Andreas Mikkelsen was ninth with Olivier Burri the top WRC2 contender in 10th spot.
Dani Sordo was among the retirements after his Hyundai, having been as high as third, failed to start before stage five. His team-mate Thierry Neuville crashed out on the opening stage.