After establishing an early lead on day one, the Norwegian jumped straight back into the groove on Friday morning.
He was immediately on the pace, catching and almost passing Pierre Louis Loubet’s Hyundai i20 World Rally Car in the darkness of Aspremont - La Bâtie-des-Fonts before increasing his advantage during the remainder of the day.
Mikkelsen arrived back at the Gap service area on Friday afternoon with a 47.1sec advantage over Adrien Fourmaux and an impressive seventh overall. He was full of praise for his Tøksport-run Skoda Fabia Rally2:
“I'm really enjoying it. The gap is quite good now and it's a nice feeling, because in the car we don't feel like we're pushing very hard. I think the Skoda is fantastic, especially in these conditions, and my gravel crew is also doing a great job,” he said.
Fourmaux’s performance has also been impressive. Despite being unable to overthrow Mikkelsen at the top of the table, the M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 star showed maturity beyond his years with a measured approach on the tricky stages.
The Frenchman claimed a well-deserved stage win on the opening pass of Montauban-sur-l'Ouvèze - Villebois-les-Pins and holds ninth in the overall standings overnight.
Citroën C3 Rally2 pilot Eric Camilli found himself a hefty 2min 11.6sec back from the leader in third, although he could take solace from his comfortable 5min 5.5sec advantage over Marco Bulacia behind.
Bulacia had made respectable progress despite his lack of experience in Monte-Carlo conditions. However, he suffered a puncture on his Citroën during the penultimate stage of the day and dropped three minutes.
Sean Johnston was another 1min 40.7sec further back with fifth in another C3, whilst WRC2 debutante Enrico Brazzoli trailed the leaders by 32min 11.4sec in his Skoda Fabia Rally2.
• Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.