Kris Meeke eighth after opening stage at Rally Finland as he returns to action

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle
Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle won Rally Finland in 2016, the third out of the pair's four WRC victories

Kris Meeke completed the opening stage of Rally Finland with the eighth fastest time as he returned to World Rally Championship action.

The Dungannon driver was dropped by Citroen for Rally Poland after a crash-filled start to the season.

Meeke, 38, won the Finnish event in 2016 and will be looking to add to his dramatic Rally Mexico victory in March.

M-Sport driver Ott Tanak was quickest around the Harju stage, followed by Thierry Neuville and Sebastian Ogier.

"I'm happy to be back in the car," said Meeke after setting the fastest time on Thursday afternoon's shakedown practice.

"We started this morning not entirely confident with some parts on the car we hadn't tested before.

"To end up with the best time, it means nothing, but it shows that we still have a good rhythm."

The first full day of action gets underway on Friday morning, where Meeke will be hoping to repeat his dominant win on the Finnish forest stages in 2016, becoming only the fifth non-Scandinavian driver to win the event.

Trips off the road in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Portugal, Argentina and Italy, along with an engine failure while leading in Corsica, have ruined Meeke's hopes of a title challenge.

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