Following the start ceremony in Longyou, Indian driver Gaurav Gill leads China Rally by 1.8 seconds from Yuya Sumiyama after Stage 1.
Third quickest was Chris Atkinson, taking it easy around the short and rough 1.8 kilometre superspecial, knowing he just has to finish to win the 2012 APRC Drivers Title.
The two Proton S2000 cars of Juha Salo and Alister McRae are 4th and 5th. A new windscreen was fitted to McRae’s car in Parc Femme, after a rock was thrown from Atkinson’s Skoda during the superspecial.
Green was 6th, 11 seconds behind Gill while Bamba was quickest of the two-wheel drive cars and team-mate Karamjit Singh just one tenth of a second slower.
The real event starts tomorrow (Saturday) with 106 kilometre of stages, a mixture of twisty gravel and fast concrete roads.