Craig Breen remains second overall at the Ypres Rally of Belgium ahead of Sunday's stages.
The Co Waterford native and co-driver Paul Nagle had come into Saturday's eight stages 7.6 seconds behind Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville.
The Hyundai i20 driver, who finished second on the podium in Estonia in July to match his best finish at the World Rally Championship, remains second overall but is now 10.1 seconds adrift of leader Neuville after the Belgian was 2.9 seconds faster than Breen on the 7.99km stage 16.
But Breen is in turn 32.3 seconds clear of Welshman Elfyn Evans who is now third in the RC1 class.
Breen was fastest on the two opening stages of the day on nine and 10, setting times of 13:30.7 and 6:23.9 respectively, while Neuville set the quickest time in three of them including 16, and Sebastien Ogier (2) and Evans were the other stage winners on Saturday.
"It's been a nice day. A little bit sad this is the end of this part of the rally, but it's a new day tomorrow. Lots of kilometres and some new stages, but I am super happy with my performance. We've taken another big step," Breen told the WRC website after completing stage 16.