Sebastien Ogier has resisted the charge of Hayden Paddon as the truncated Rally Sweden speeds towards its conclusion on the second day.
The Volkswagen Motorsport driver saw his overall lead slashed to just 8.8 seconds after Hyundai's Paddon made the most of better conditions on SS12, as the pair produced a comfortable gap on Mads Ostberg and Andreas Mikkelsen.
Due to the number of stage cancellations due to the warmer temperatures defrosting the roads and making them unsafe to race on, Rally Sweden has become a sprint to the finish. Ogier duly reacted by going 'flat out' on SS14 to pull out a 1.4-second buffer on Paddon to extend his overall lead to 10.2 seconds.
With just three stages remaining, roughly 41km of total running left to cover, any mistakes are feared to be fatal for the chances of either of the front-runners.
In SS14, Mikkelsen suffered a mistake by running wide at the end of the stage and lost almost half a minute to Ostberg in the fight for the final rostrum place.
Tanak continued to struggle in the DMACK Ford Fiesta RS to adapt to the conditions but holds on to fifth overall ahead of a close battle for sixth between Hyundai's Dani Sordo and WRC legend Henning Solberg. Sordo lost about one minute of time on SS10 due to a left-front tyre puncture 4km from home and consequently slipped down the order.
On his highly-anticipated Citroen WRC debut Craig Breen continued to quietly go about his business in eighth ahead of Thierry Neuville and Yazeed Al Rajhi
M-Sport's Eric Camilli suffered a nightmare on Saturday's opening stage when he rolled his Ford Fiesta RS which ruled him out of the running, while Lorenzo Bertelli withdrew from Rally Sweden on personal reasons.
In the competition between the Rally 2 re-starters Abu Dhabi Total WRT's Citroen Kris Meeke and VW's Jari-Matti Latvala, the pair enjoyed a scrap while trading stage wins which were helped by their advantageous starting order.