Banbury's Mini WRC Team say they are just where they want to be after the opening day of the Neste Oil Rally Finland.

Both the Prodrive-built cars are running with no problems.

This evening Dani Sordo and Carlos de Barrio returned to service in Jyväskylä, after 39.74 kilometres of competitive running on three stages, sixth overall in the number 37 Mini John Cooper Works WRC, while Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were ninth in number 52.

A team spokesman said from the first stage it was a matter of taking it easy on one of the World Rally Championship’s toughest and most unforgiving events. Sordo has competed in the event for the past few years, but Meeke has not been there for five years and never in a WRC car.

The weather was hot and humid as this is the driest summer in Finland for 23 years, but rain is forecast overnight.

Dave Wilcock, technical director, said: “It is all going according to plan, with both cars functioning okay. Both drivers have done exactly what they were told to do, but I think they are both feeling the nerves as it is 12 weeks since we did Sardinia, so they are bound to be a bit rusty.

"It is quite useful having three stages and then a night to sleep on it. Both crews will benefit from it.

"Dani is really happy where he is and with the car. He is completely comfortable in all areas. We want to keep up with the others as there will be another game played tomorrow, and it will be nice to be in the hunt.

"Kris is doing exactly what he set out to do. He really needs to finish and get experience of all these stages. Looking at the tyre wear between all the other cars, we are as good, if not better than, the rest so with the longer loops tomorrow this could play into our hands a little bit."