Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia took advantage of an inspired tyre choice to reclaim the Coates Hire Rally Australia lead after winning both of the afternoon stages.
The French reigning world champion made the most of his predominantly hard tyre setup, while many of the field including arch rival Jari-Matti Latvala, struggled with tyre wear on soft compound rubber.
Possible rain showers prompted some drivers to switch to soft tyres but the clouds failed to appear, helping Ogier storm to stage victories on the second run through Nambucca (48.92km) and Valla (8km) stages.
Ogier now holds a 10.3s lead over Latvala, who had held a 4.1s lead heading into the afternoon loop of stages. The Finn lost 13.6s in Nambucca to finish fourth quickest before coming through Valla in second, just a second behind Ogier.
Citroen's Kris Meeke reclaimed third overall following a strong drive to second and third in Stages 11 and 12 respectively.
However, the battle for third is still a tight affair with Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen just 1.3s adrift of the Northern Irishman.
M-Sport's Mikko Hirvonen remains in fifth overall despite struggling for grip on the soft tyres.
Meanwhile, Mads Ostberg leapfrogged Hyundai's Hayden Paddon into sixth spot with the Norwegian opening up a 7.8s lead over the Kiwi.
Thierry Neuville moved up to eighth after taking advantage of an error for Robert Kubica which saw the Pole lose a minute during an excursion in Stage 12.
Kubica dropped to 10th behind Elfyn Evans as a result of his mistake, while Australia's Chris Atkinson moved back up to 11th position for Hyundai. The 34-year-old was among the drivers who made the wrong tyre choice for the pair of stages.
Coates Hire Rally Australia continues with two more runs over the 1.58km Super Special stage tonight.
Coates Hire Rally Australia Results After Stage 12