Mikko Hirvonen remains on course to win his first rally of the current season as he sits atop the Rally of Italy timesheets heading into the final day.

The Citroen driver is one minute 28.2 seconds clear of Russian Evgeny Novikov in his Ford Fiesta after 14 special stages, with only two stages on Sunday.

The day arguably belonged to Mads Ostberg, who secured four stage wins to sit fourth in the standings but is still over three-and-a-half minutes behind Hirvonen.

Despite victory being out of the question, the Adapta driver was delighted with his effort.

"I'm very happy with the day," Ostberg told wrc.com. "Everything is working well and we've been able to push without doing anything stupid."

Reigning champion Sebastien Loeb, who secured his ninth successive title last time out in France, was forced out of the race yesterday.

Having already won eight of the 11 rallies already staged this season, it means there is an opportunity for the likes of Hirvonen to claim a win, something the Finn has not achieved in over a year.