Britain's red-hot Kris Meeke surged into the lead on day one of the Tour of Corsica on Friday after holding disgruntled world champion Sebastien Ogier of France at bay.
Citroen racer Meeke, who triumphed in Mexico in the previous leg of the World Rally Championship, goes into Saturday's action more than 10 seconds in front of Ogier.
Belgium's Thierry Neuville, in a Hyundai, was third overall in Corsica, the fourth stop in the world championship.
Meeke took the two morning stages but Ogier fought back in the afternoon's opening speed test, before Meeke reasserted his supremacy once more.
Ogier, who took the world title last season with Volkswagen before they abruptly quit the sport, admitted that he was far from delighted with his Ford Fiesta RS.
"It's a bit better," said Ogier. "I still don't have the car I'm dreaming of so I have to fight because I can't do exactly as I like.
"I'm fighting like I can with it."