Returning to Olbia for the first proper service of the day, the Frenchman has a 42.4sec cushion over Citroen pilot Mikko Hirvonen.
Ogier took the lead in his Polo R on the rally’s opening stage, and enjoyed a trouble-free run in slippery conditions that caused problems for many of his rivals.
In dry, hot conditions, and on abrasive gravel roads, tyre conservation has been crucial to success so far, and Ogier’s ability to look after his Michelins better than anybody else has stood him in good stead.
“We have done a good drive so far, and for sure the tyres today have made a big difference,” he said after clearing SS6. “When it’s warm like this I try to be very progressive with the steering, but it’s nothing too special, it’s just my natural driving style.”
Completing SS6 with his Citroen’s front tyres scrubbed almost down to the canvas, a frustrated Hirvonen was in no doubt about what was holding him back.
“I don’t know what more I can do. The car feels perfect, but I can’t keep my front tyres,” he said. “They’re always destroyed at the end of the stage. That’s the only thing that’s slowing us down.”
Less than five seconds behind Hirvonen is Thierry Neuville, who has proved to be the surprise of the rally so far. Like Ogier, Neuville has held onto his tyres better than most and with the exception of a near miss with a wall on SS3 he has enjoyed a near perfect run in his Ford Fiesta RS.
“It’s going pretty well,” he acknowledged, “I think the tyre issue is the same for everybody, I just took it carefully in some places. I also had some rice with chilli sauce for lunch, and that seems to have helped.”
With another two stages remaining in Friday’s marathon itinerary, Mads Ostberg is close to the leaders in fourth, just 7.2sec behind Neuville. After SS6, however, the Norwegian was less than happy with his similar Fiesta RS. “I’m struggling with the car. It’s oversteering, absolutely sideways everywhere. It’s hard to be efficient at the wheel like this. I had a small spin too.”
An on-form Dani Sordo is fifth, 6.1sec behind Ostberg in his Citroen DS3.
Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen is sixth, 27.4sec further back, after losing time when he broke a suspension joint on SS2.
Qualifying stage winner Jari-Matti Latvala is seventh, two minutes off the lead after a puncture on the opening stage cost him any realistic chance of victory this weekend.
Martin Prokop is eighth, with Michal Kosciuszko ninth on his first day in anoher Fiesta RS.
Also getting used to a new Fiesta RS – and a co-driver - Welsh youngster Elvyn Evans rounds off the top-ten, just 7sec behind Kosciusko.
Robert Kubica has won five of the six stages to build a comfortable lead in the WRC-2 category. The Pole's only problem was on stage 3 when he damaged the rear of his Citroen DS3 RRC after clipping a hay bale.
Kubica is 1min 48.5sec ahead of Sepp Wiegand's Skoda Fabia S2000, with Ukraine's Yuriy Protasov third having lost the position to Wiegand on SS6. Just 6.3sec separate the duo.
In the WRC 3 category, Christian Riedemann has led since the second stage and arrived in service 16.2sec ahead of category debutant Stephane Consani.
Bryan Bouffier led initially but retired in the second stage after damaging the front of his car. Quentin Gilbert lies third. Keith Cronin has won three stages after puncturing in the opening test, while series leader Sebastien Chardonnet has topped the time sheets twice after also puncturing. All are at the wheel of Citroen DS3 R3T cars.