FIA World Rally Championship leader Sebastian Ogier emerged as a comfortable leader from the opening stage of the Rally Germany near Cologne.
Ogier, chasing his first drivers' championship after establishing a 90-point gap over his closest rivals with five rounds remaining, led Volkswagen Motorsport team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala by 4.6 seconds.
However, the Frenchman was unhappy after experiencing technical difficulties.
"It wasn't so good. I'm not so happy with the car because there was a lot of understeer. We'll try to change something in the set-up because it's hard to drive the car like that," Ogier said.
Thierry Neuville, driving a Ford Fiesta RS, finished 9.2seconds behind Ogier to claim third place.
Dani Sordo was fourth in his Citroen DS3, 15.4seconds off the lead and 4.3seconds ahead of team-mate Mikko Hirvonen.
Mads Ostberg rounded off the top six in his Fiesta RS, 21.7seconds behind Ogier.