He was sixth quickest in SS3, seventh in SS4, and eighth in SS5 to haul himself up to 15th. In the afternoon he continued to make progress and was sixth again in St Pierreville before setting two seventh best efforts in SS7 and SS8. He finally finished the day 1.5 minutes off the final drivers' point – but crucially on course for the final manufacturers' point, which will be some solace for BP Ford.
Of the rest Per-Gunnar Andersson and Matthew Wilson
ended the day in 11th and 12th, with Frederic Romeyer next up, followed by Gardemeister and Ales Broccoli, who heads the A7 runners in his Renault Clio.
Olivier Burri leads the race for the Group N honours, 16th overall, nearly a minute up on Patrick Artru's Lancer, his closest rival, who is 18th.
In terms of retirees there was only one major casualty - namely BP Ford
Abu Dhabi WRT 'third' driver, Khalid Al-Qassimi, who went off in SS6. It is not yet known if he will be able to re-start under the SupeRally format.
The action now resumes on Saturday at 07.31 hours local time. Two identical loops of three stages lay in wait, totalling around 133 competitive kilometres - the longest day of the event.