Craig Breen is second overall after the nine opening stages at the Rally of Estonia.
The Waterford native and co-driver Paul Nagle are just 8.5 seconds behind leader Kalle Rovanpera of Finland and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen.
Breen has set a time of 1:07:02.9 ahead of Saturday's nine further stages of action in the World Rally Championship's RC1 class.
The Hyundai i20 Coupe driver is 44.9 seconds clear of Belgium's Thierry Neuville and his co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe who are third.
Estonian home favourite Ott Tanak, who had won the opening stage of the day just 0.3 clear of Breen, withdrew during stage four.
Breen set the fastest time on stage eight, the penultimate session of the day, in which he was 1.2 seconds faster than Rovanpera. The 31-year-old was also top two in all the seven remaining stages of the day with Rovanpera quickest in six of those.
The Rally of Estonia is the seventh round of this year's WRC with France's Sebastien Ogier top of the standings, and Breen 10th on 24 points having featured in the second and third rounds at the Arctic Rally Finland and Croatia Rally.