Kiwi Hayden Paddon posted the seventh fastest time in the opening stage of Rally Sweden on Friday morning.

The Hyundai factory driver was 2.1s slower than stage winner Ott Tanak's Toyota Yaris over the short, 1.9km city test.

The stage saw two cars on track at the same time – Paddon pipped the Toyota of Esapekka Lappi by 0.1s in their head-to-head battle.

"It's good to be back, a good way to shake off the cobwebs," Paddon said via Twitter. "Feeling good, feeling relaxed. We will push tomorrow, hopefully we can be back near front fighting."


Tanak's Toyota teammate Jari-Matti Latvala was second fastest with Citroen driver Mads Ostberg third.

World champion Sebastien Ogier was ninth fastest.

Fellow Kiwi David Holder is last having picked up a 30 second penalty. He is making his debut in the Junior World Rally Championship and on the snow and ice of Sweden.

A total of 18 more stages await drivers over the next three days.

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