Sebastien Ogier claimed the early Rally Argentina lead by topping the opening Cordoba superspecial on Thursday evening.
Reigning World Rally champion Ogier was nine tenths clear at the front of the field on the 1.2-mile mixed-surface stage in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta.
Argentina is the only event on the current WRC calendar that Ogier has not previously won.
His stage-topping time ended a long spell in joint first place for Hyundai's Dani Sordo and DMACK Ford driver Elfyn Evans. They will share second overnight instead.
Mads Ostberg began his return to the WRC after two rounds away with sixth in his privately-entered Ford, behind Thierry Neuville's Hyundai and the leading Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala.
Hayden Paddon and Kris Meeke, winners here last year and in 2015 respectively, were seventh and eighth.
The full-length stages begin just after 8.30am local time on Friday.
Follow Rally Argentina as it happens with Autosport Live from 12.30pm UK time on Friday