Ott Tanak kept alive his hopes of winning the World Rally Championship by moving into the lead of Rally Australia as Craig Breen slipped back after suffering car trouble.

The Estonian must win the final race of the season and claim maximum bonus points in Sunday's power stage to have a chance of overhauling Sebastien Ogier.

Tanak gave himself an opportunity with a strong performance on Saturday, winning six of the 10 speed tests to climb from fifth to first and establish a 21.9-second lead over Toyota team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

But Ford's Ogier remains in pole position to win a sixth consecutive title after staying within his comfort zone on the gravel roads of New South Wales to sit sixth.

Thierry Neuville, the third man in the title frame, struggled in the conditions and lies eighth.

Waterford man Breen was second after day one in New South Wales but throttle and tire issues slowed him down and he is now 10th, almost six and a half minutes behind Tanak.

Tanak said on "Today was back to a normal day in the office, yesterday there were too many issues. I know Seb well, he's a smart guy, but we'll target our job and you never know what can happen."