Sebastien Ogier will take a 20-second lead into the final day of Wales Rally GB, the final round of this year's World Rally Championship.
The Volkswagen Polo R driver began Saturday's third leg with a lead of 20.1sec over his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, and he maintained that advantage despite a determined challenge from the Finn.
Ogier wasn't fastest on any of the day's seven stages, but judged his pace perfectly on the slippery forest roads of mid-Wales to round off the day with a clean run through the short asphalt stage at Chirk Castle in front of thousands of spectators.
“We just conserved the gap today, that was the plan,” said Ogier.
“I wanted to keep Jari-Matti at the same difference and we did that. Now there are fifty kilometres to go, but Rally GB is never finished before the end. It's very tricky and we have to stay concentrated. We need to do the same job we've done up to now.”
Between them, Ogier's team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Latvala won all of the day's five forest stages, with Mikkelsen fastest on the first two and Latvala taking a hat-trick in the afternoon.
Thierry Neuville is third on his last outing in a Ford Fiesta RS before a switch to Hyundai for 2014. The Belgian had a largely trouble free day, but was kept under pressure from Mikkelsen behind.
Dani Sordo is seventh, and Citroen's sole remaining factory entry after Robert Kubica crashed out today for a second time. The Pole restarted after a crash on day two, but went off the road on SS11 after a pace-note misunderstanding.
WRC 2 leaders Elfyn Evans, Jari Ketomaa and Mark Higgins round off the top ten.
Australia's Molly Taylor continued her steady run moving from a further two places up the leaderboard to be 20th overall.
POSITIONS: Rally GB – Leg 3
VIDEO: Morning Stages
VIDEO: Afternoon Stages