The Qatari won six of the seven stages to return to Leon 6min 11.8sec ahead of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo of local hero Nicolas Fuchs.
“We won’t sleep until tomorrow afternoon,” he said. “We need to make sure we keep full concentration because, with a gap like this, it is very easy to lose it with a mistake.
“We still have the long stage tomorrow, which will be one of the biggest challenges of the rally. But I am looking forward to it and it will certainly test our fitness so we can see how strong we are physically,” he explained.
After battling with brake problems for much of the morning, Ricardo Trivino lies third in another Group N Mitsubishi and the Mexican is 14min 23.4sec from the lead. Yuriy Protasov completes the runners in fourth.
Armin Kremer retired from third this morning with a broken steering arm on his Subaru Impreza.