Mexican progress delights Meeke
Kris Meeke was in fifth place and content to play the 'anchor role' for Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg, who led Rally Mexico last night.
He was 25 seconds behind the Norwegian and insisting on sticking to his plan to take a conservative approach on his first visit to the high altitude Mexican event.
"The thin air drains the power from the cars and you have to serve your time here and learn a different technique," said the Ulsterman.
"The dust is also a problem but I'm happy with my progress so far – and delighted to see Mads out in front."
World champion Sebastien Ogier led initially but Ostberg stepped up his pace to overhaul the Volkswagen of the Frenchman and move six seconds in front after the first four stages, only to let half his advantage slip on the short spectator stage near Leon.
His co-driver Jonas Andersson forgot to remove a radiator mask before the start of the stage and the DS3 Citroen's engine overheated, forcing Ostberg to back off.
Behind Ogier, Ford's Mikko Hirvonen was a further eight seconds back in third with the VW of World championship leader Jari-Matti Latvala another eight seconds down in fourth. Then came Meeke, six seconds behind the Finn.
And Meeke was over a minute ahead of the Ford Fiesta of former Canadian F1 Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica.
The opening stages had already accounted for the third VW of Andreas Mikkelsen and the R5 Fiesta of Ott Tanak, who both crashed out yesterday after starring on the Swedish round.