Pontus Tidemand delighted the home crowd by winning the opening special stage of the Rally Sweden on Thursday evening as Northern Ireland's Kris Meeke finished 13th.

Ford Fiesta RRC driver Tidemand took advantage of being in the first heat on a night when conditions became increasingly slippery to post a time of one minute 32.1 seconds, 0.3 secs clear of Mads Ostberg in his Citroen DS 3.

"I enjoyed that, I always do," Tidemand told www.wrc.com. "It feels quite good and there are lots of fans here. It's perfect."

The evening stage involved two drivers at a time racing around an ice-covered horse trotting track and Ostberg easily won his battle with championship leader Sebastien Ogier, the Frenchman finishing 1.1secs off the pace in seventh.

Jari-Matti Latvala was 0.1 secs behind Ostberg in third with Thierry Neuville a further 0.2secs adrift and Andreas Mikkelsen in fifth.

Ott Tanak rounded out the top six with Meeke in 13th, 2.6 seconds behind Tidemand.