Ogier led the Italian counter after this morning’s four mountain stages only to see his early gains lost to a brake issue on stage five – the first of three stages that took crews around the famous Monza circuit, its many access roads and iconic banking.

He lost the lead on the penultimate test to title rival and Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans and surrendered a further tenth of a second on Friday’s final run around the F1 complex.

Despite this, the Frenchman says he is not overly bothered at how the leaderboard looks going in to tomorrow when crews, once again, face a mix of closed road and single-venue stages.

Needing only a top-three finish this weekend to retain his number one status, Ogier says he is focused on him – and him alone.

“The only danger [of losing the title] is myself to be honest – I just have to focus on my driving,” he said.

“It has been a good day; I really enjoyed driving the stages in the mountains and this afternoon I was a little bit more on the safe side. I also had an issue on stage five that cost at least five seconds, but it’s quite OK.

“I am happy with where I am right now. It’s not a fight I need to take [with Elfyn] - I just need to do the same tomorrow,” he added.

Evans – who lost the chance to clinch a maiden WRC title at the same event 12 months ago through an accident – re-doubled his efforts in preparing for the event but knows the balance of power is very much with Ogier.

“This [round] wasn’t my strong point last year, so let’s say I’ve put a lot of energy into trying to make sure we are able to match the others around here,” he said.

“It has been OK today but of course we have a lot more to contend with before the weekend is out.

“It’s more of the same from us tomorrow to be honest – there’s not a lot more we can do. We just have to carry on and do the best we can. That’s it,” he added.