Number one seed Craig Breen holds fourth position overall behind Italian leader Paolo Andreucci after the first three stages of the Rally Sanremo.
With two night stages still to come on the opening day of the rally, which is the penultimate round in the 2013 European Rally Championship, Waterford driver Breen is 11.7 seconds adrift of Andreucci.
There was drama on the final afternoon stage with all the top drivers reporting issues, including Breen who said he had experienced tyre problems.
“The tyre temperature was too high and I started losing grip early in the stage and could not commit one hundred percent,” he commented.
The 23-year-old had a horrific experience in Italy last year when his Welsh co-driver Gareth Roberts died after Breen’s Peugeot crashed during the 2012 Targo Florio rally in Sicily, and an emotional Breen said after today’s first stage.
“I was very scared here last year as it was my first time to be back on Italian roads since my accident in Sicily.
“So it is nice to drive these stages with full confidence and commitment.”
Stage 4 is scheduled to begin at 8.21pm Irish time while the final stage of day one begins at 9.06pm.
The rally resumes tomorrow with the final six stages. The opening Saturday morning test begins at 9.59am Irish time.