The Norwegian, however, claimed to a “bit rusty” in the first couple of corners but that didn’t stop him from being the top Volkswagen driver.
Ott Tanak too was admittedly rusty as he had his last outing in the World Rally Championship in Spain two years ago. He was the quickest Ford driver in third, ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala.
“I’ve not driven one of these cars since 2012,” Tanak said. “But of course it’s a great feeling to be back… It will be difficult here with a new co-driver (Raigo Molder)… A top ten result would be good.”
Juho Hanninen was the quickest Hyundai in seventh ahead of the leading Citroen of Mads Ostberg. Thierry Neuville and Kris Meeke rounded up the top ten.
Robert Kubica was five seconds off the pace in 12th, behind Pontus Tidemand.
Martin Prokop was 14th, Elfyn Evans 17th, Craig Breen 21st and Khalid Al-Qassimi in 29th, 15.8 seconds adrift after he got a ten second penalty for jumping the start.
The rally resumes Thursday from Karlstad with six stages in Sweden and Norway covering just over 60 kilometres.
“Tomorrow starts the real stages,” Mikkelsen pointed out.
Leading positions after SS1: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Andreas Mikkelsen VW 1m33.4s 2. Sebastien Ogier VW +0.8s 3. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford +2.2s 4. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +2.4s 5. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen +2.6s 6. Henning Solberg Solberg Ford +3.0s 7. Juho Hanninen Hyundai +3.2s 8. Mads Ostberg Citroen +3.2s 9. Thierry Neuville Hyundai +3.4s 10. Kris Meeke Citroen +3.9s