New Zealander Hayden Paddon has ended the short opening day of WRC Mexico in fifth place.

The Hyundai driver is 3.2s behind overnight leader Juho Hanninen, who had the fastest time across two runs through the inner-city Mexico City super special stage.

Estonian Ott Tanak was second in his M-Sport Ford - 1.6s behind Hanninen's Toyota.
Kris Meeke (Citroen) was third and Paddon's Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville fourth.

DMACK Ford driver Elfyn Evans was handed a five minute penalty for changing an engine between the shakedown and the opening stage.

Advertisement

The ceremonial start and public opening stage was held in front of massive crowds around the famous Zócalo square in central Mexico City.

"Wow! That's all I can say, really," Paddon said afterwards. "We knew it would be a special start to the rally but this atmosphere was something else.

"It was an amazing feeling to drive our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in front of these crowds and in such a fantastic venue.

"I am pumped for the rest of the weekend and hope that we can continue to put on a great show for all the Mexican supporters.

"Bring on the gravel stages."

The first full day of action sees drivers run through the famous high-altitude gravel stages in the mountains near the city of Leon.