Third overall after 4 stages was Citroen's privateer Petter Solberg, who is currently one full second behind factory driver Sordo. Just like Latvala, however, the Norwegian is expected to be set back some 10 seconds also. No technical infringements were found at the cars, only that the two drivers started the SS3 one minute late.
Latvala scored 3 stage wins on Thursday, building up a slight lead over Sordo after the first couple of outings. The Spaniard fought back a stage later, when setting the pace during SS3 – the problematic one for the Finn and Solberg – after which Latvala won again in SS4 and re-clinched the lead.
“It's not an ideal situation when you start very well and then you get a penalty. But it's history now, we can't change it,” said Latvala, acknowledging that he may be informed of a potential penalty any time soon.
“Without the problem with the throttle, I'd be okay. It's really, really slippery and difficult to drive. But at the moment it's going really well,” added Sordo.
From the Top 3 onwards, the other drivers were way off pace, with Sebastien Ogier sitting some 14 seconds behind in 4th place. Sebastien Loeb lost a massive 21 seconds to leader Latvala on Thursday morning, as he was opens the roads throughout the day, while followed by title rival Mikko Hirvonen and Henning Solberg in 6th and 7th respectively.
The Top 10 after Leg 1 of the Thursday action was completed by Matthew Wilson, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Federico Villagra.
Update: After SS5 in the afternoon, Latvala continues to lead the pack some 7.4 seconds from Solberg, while Sordo is 1.7 seconds further behind. The only other noticeable change after SS5 is that Kimi Raikkonen climbed into 10th place, more than 10 minutes ahead of 11th placed Janne Tuohino.