The 10th round of the World Rally Championship kicked off in southwestern Turkey on Thursday.

The WRC leaders will be battling on unfamiliar rocky terrain as the competition returns to Turkey after an eight-year break.
The WRC leaders will be battling on unfamiliar rocky terrain as the competition returns to Turkey after an eight-year break. (TRTWorld)

Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen claimed the early lead of the Rally of Turkey on Thursday as championship leader Thierry Neuville made a solid start to sit in fourth place.

Mikkelsen, who is only fifth in the overall standings after a difficult season in his Hyundai, leads Ireland's Craig Breen by 2.5 seconds after the opening speed test in Marmaris, with in-form Ott Tanak 0.3 sec further adrift.

"I'm really looking forward to this rally. Hopefully, our luck has changed now and we can have a good event. That would be nice," Mikkelsen told wrc.com.

Belgian Neuville, who leads five-time defending world champion Sebastien Ogier by 23 points in the title race with four rallies remaining, was 3.1sec slower than Mikkelsen heading into Friday's six stages.

It was a disastrous start for Frenchman Ogier, though, as he made a bad mistake on a jump and finished down in 12th place.

The World Rally Championship has returned to Turkey this week after an eight-year absence.

TRT World's Robin Adams reports from Marmaris.

Source: AFP