Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala dominated the second leg of the Rallye Deutschland as he moved almost a minute clear of his rivals and to within touching distance of his first ever win on asphalt.
The Volkswagen driver won five of the seven special stages in muddy conditions to extend his lead over Dungannon's Kris Meeke to 56.6 seconds.
Latvala had led by 37 seconds overnight and continued to press on Saturday as he looks to close the gap of 44 points to championship leader Sebastien Ogier.
Ogier, his team-mate crashed for a second time, ruling him out of the remainder of the race, meaning Latvala should be set for a routine last leg, barring any mechanical problems.
"It should be fine," the Finn said no www.wrc.com. "I think we can take it easy tomorrow on stages that are a bit shorter than in previous years.
"You never want anything bad for your team-mate, but I need this victory to happen to open up the championship fight. But first I have to finish and keep my head cool."
Meeke retained second place, with a 4.3s lead over Belgian Thierry Neuville.