BRUSSELS : Belgian Thierry Neuville led his home rally on Friday with Hyundai filling the top three spots after the opening leg around Ypres.
Neuville was 7.6 seconds clear of Ireland's Craig Breen with Estonian Ott Tanak third and 31.2 seconds off the leading pace.
The asphalt Ypres Rally Belgium is a new event on the calendar, and the eighth round of the season.
Friday was due to have eight stages but spectator issues meant the final one was cancelled for safety reasons and cars completed it under normal road conditions.
"We knew if we had a clean run today that we could be among the fastest. Of course, experience counts for a lot and the car has been working well, but it’s good to be leading at the end of the first day," said Neuville.
Four Toyotas filled places four to seven, with Championship leader Sebastian Ogier in sixth.
"It was difficult to find grip running first on the road, and I really didn’t expect the dust to play as much of a role as it did," said the Frenchman.
Ogier, a seven-times world champion, leads team mate Elfyn Evans by 37 points in the standings.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)