Sebastien Ogier will take a 17.1-second lead into the final day of the Rally of Sweden after holding off the challenge of closest rival Hayden Paddon.
World champion Ogier had opened up a 26.9-second gap in Friday's opening leg despite hitting a tree and although New Zealander Paddon carved into his advantage in Saturday's snowy forest speed tests, the Frenchman kept him at bay.
Heavy overnight snow saw road opener Ogier plough a clean line for those cars behind him and Paddon, on his debut in Hyundai's 2016-specification i20, took full advantage to pile on the pressure.
Ogier, who won Rallye Monte Carlo last month, went fastest in the opening speed test in his Volkswagen Polo R to lead by more than half a minute, but in the following test Paddon cut the deficit to 8.8 seconds.
Ogier then regained vital seconds in the final three tests despite a hair-raising sideways slide in the penultimate stage.
"I was completely flat out," Ogier said.
"I took so many risks and couldn't have gone any faster."
Mads Ostberg, who flirted with a ditch in the opening stage, is lying third in his Ford Fiesta RS, 25.2 seconds behind Paddon.
Fellow Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen is 25.1 seconds further behind, Estonia's Ott Tanak is fifth and Spaniard Dani Sordo sixth.
Waterford’s Craig Breen is eighth after a strong debut in his Citroen DS 3.
Sunday's final leg comprises the 15.87km Varmullsasen Power Stage before the afternoon finish in Karlstad.