Welsh driver Elfyn Evans was braced for a dogfight at the Rally of Argentina on Sunday's final stages against fast-charging Thierry Neuville as he targeted a first world championship win.
The 28-year-old driver saw his lead of almost a minute at the start of Saturday's action slashed to just 11 seconds by his Hyundai rival as his Ford Fiesta suffered a series of tyre and technical problems.
But Evans, who has won seven of the 15 stages so far, remained defiant as he looked for his maiden triumph to add to his two previous podium finishes, one of which came in Argentina in 2015.
"We didn’t come all this way to finish second. If he wants it he’s going to have to fight for it," Evans told Neuville.
"We had no major problems, just a lot of niggly things. There was something strange with the rear, the car was soft and oversteering and I didn’t feel comfortable."
Neuville also had problems, suffering a puncture when his Hyundai hit a bank after he was blinded by early morning sun.
Estonia's Ott Tanak is third in another Fiesta, 26.8sec off the lead while world champion Sebastien Ogier, also behind the wheel of a Ford, is almost 50 seconds off the pace.