Sebastien Ogier capitalised on rival Thierry Neuville's puncture to build a lead of more than 35 seconds at the Rally of Spain.
Ogier took a narrow 9.9secs lead into the Friday afternoon loop after winning the first stage, only to see Neuville claw that back to just 4.6secs.
Hyundai's Neuville was held up for more than two minutes by his puncture on the next stage however, ushering reigning champion Ogier into overall control.
Jari-Matti Latvala climbed steadily from seventh to second in the overall standings, despite never matching Ogier's pace.
Finland's Latvala must overhaul Ogier in Spain to keep his World Rally Championship title hopes alive, but now trails his Volkswagen team-mate by 36.6s.
Citroen's Mads Ostberg found himself caught up in Neuville's dust cloud when the Belgian suffered his puncture, and that was enough to drop him back to third at the end of Friday's action.
Spaniard Dani Sordo now sits almost 90 seconds off the pace after co-driver Marc Marti misread their scheduled start leaving the Hyundai sat on the starting line while time ticked by.
Even despite that glaring error Sordo was able to make up enough time to remain ahead of Hyundai team-mate Neuville after that puncture.