The M-Sport Ford driver set the tempo across the 2.55km Velka Chuchle spectator stage that navigated round a racecourse in Prague, because the Czech Republic made its WRC debut.
One of some crews to go for 4 comfortable tyres, Tanak took the spoils with an ideal run in entrance of an enormous crowd.
Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier, making a seventh WRC begin of the season on the penultimate spherical of the 12 months, was 0.7 seconds slower than Tanak, having opted to run on moist tyres.
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville produced a dedicated run by means of the stage, that featured a mixture of asphalt and gravel sections, to clock the third quickest time, 0.3s slower than Ogier.
Esapekka Lappi posted the fourth quickest time some 1.6s in arrears however the Finn’s rally hopes suffered an early dent.
The Hyundai driver was deemed to have jumped the beginning, leading to a 10s penalty, which dropped him exterior of the factors paying positions.
Hyundai team-mate Teemu Suninen inherited fourth after Lappi’s penalty, whereas M-Sport’s Gregoire Munster impressed in solely his second WRC begin in a Puma Rally1, to take a seat fifth.
Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
WRC title rival team-mates Elfyn Evans and reigning champion Kalle Rovanpera set occasions adequate for eighth and ninth.
Evans edged Rovanpera by 0.1s to take first blood of their non-public battle. If Rovanpera outscores Evans this weekend he’ll seal a second world title with a spherical to spare.
“It was not the perfect begin. We have been within the regroup after which the timing modified and we didn’t have a lot time to prepare for the stage,” mentioned Rovanpera.
“I’ve a racehorse myself with my buddies and I’ve seen her operating on the observe however I’ve by no means pushed on one myself.”
The crews will sort out the 8.92km Klatovy take a look at this night to finish Thursday’s itinerary, earlier than tackling six extra asphalt levels within the Czech Republic tomorrow.
Six levels that straddle the German and Austrian border will make up Saturday’s leg forward of 4 levels in Germany on Sunday.