Meeke has the edge over World champion Sebastien
Kris Meeke carried his Rally Mexico winning form into the Tour de Corse and led at the end of the first leg, 10 seconds ahead of World champion Sebastien Ogier.
But he remained wary of the Frenchman, the winner in Corsica last year.
"You know Seb is going to keep fighting and there is still a long way to go. But I'm happy with my pace and feel comfortable," said the Ulsterman who was fastest in his Abu Dhabi team Citroen C3 on three of the four long stages which made up day one.
He and co-driver Paul Nagle might well have been fastest on all four but they were forced to slow slightly at the point where Ford's Ott Tanak crashed on stage three, still finishing less than a second behind Ogier's M-Sport Ford Fiesta.
Meeke was especially pleased to have beaten Ogier twice on the 29 kilometre Plage du Liamone stage.
"He destroyed everyone on that stage last year and to be faster than him was satisfying," said Meeke who was being strongly backed up by Circuit of Ireland winner Craig Breen in the second of the Citroens.
Breen and co-driver Scott Martin were in fourth place, nearly a minute adrift of Meeke but just 26 seconds behind the Hyundai of Thierry Neuville.
Driving one of the new C3s for only the second time, Breen was locked in a battle with Neuville's team-mate Dan Sordo but edged out the Spaniard in the afternoon to move ahead by 1.4 seconds. The third C3 of Stephane Lefebrve was in eighth behind the Toyota of Jari Matti Latvala and Hayden Paddon's Hyundai.