Three-time world champion Sebastien Ogier held on to his lead after the second day of the Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada in Spain.
The Frenchman sealed the 2015 title, his third in a row, in Australia last month but is showing no signs of letting up as he targets an eighth win of the season.
Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala is second, four seconds adrift, with Estonia's Ott Tanak - who won three of the day's eight stages - third.
Ogier, who led after Thursday's curtain-raising street stage in the Barcelona, won just one stage but still ended on top of the leaderboard.
Ex-Formula One driver Robert Kubica led for two stages in his Fiesta RS until two punctures and a jammed gearbox left him way off the pace.
Dungannon’s Kris Meeke lies 10th, while Craig Breen occupies eighth spot in the WRC2 class after suffering a puncture and damaged suspension on a trying day for the Waterford man.
Next up on Saturday are eight more stages, three of which are driven twice, covering a total of 123.05km.