Kris Meeke lies in third position after day two of the Rally of France, 53.7 seconds behind leader Jari-Matti Lavala from Finland.
Lavala stretched his race lead to 28 seconds after winning the opening four special stages in a Volkswagen Polo R and then throttling back as the challenge from Norwegian team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen subsided.
Meeke was a further 25.7 seconds behind in a Citroen DS3. The Northern Irishman admitted he could not match the pace of those ahead and refused to risk a potential podium by trying, although he did puncture the front right tyre in the penultimate test.
Sunday’s final leg comprises two loops of two new stages through forests near Saverne, covering 63.38km.
The final Power Stage offers bonus points to the fastest three drivers, but with rain forecast, there could still be a twist to this 11th round of the season.