Jari-Matti Latvala leads Rally Sweden by 42.7sec at the midpoint of the final day after an Andreas Mikkelsen mistake allowed the Finn to breathe more easily.
The Volkswagen pair were split by only 3.6sec overnight but Mikkelsen buried his Polo R in a snowbank near the end of the 19.26km Torntorp stage. He lost 25sec and Latvala rubbed salt in the Norwegian’s wounds by winning all four morning tests.
Mikkelsen remains on course for his first WRC podium but his advantage over third-placed Mads Ostberg has shrunk to 16.6sec, the Citroen DS3 pilot setting top three times in all four stages.
His lead over Mikko Hirvonen in fourth has widened to almost a minute, with Estonian Ott Tanak comfortable in fifth. Both are in Ford Fiesta RS cars.
Henning Solberg survived a high-speed spin in the final test of the loop to hold sixth. He capitalised on a mistake from Kris Meeke who dropped seven minutes after his DS3 became beached in a snowbank on the inside of a corner in the opening stage.
Recovering world champion Sebastien Ogier is up to seventh and closing on Solberg, with Pontus Tidemand, Elfyn Evans and Craig Breen completing the leaderboard.
Robert Kubica’s troubled rally continued when he slid into a ditch and dropped more than four minutes.
In WRC 2, Yazeed Al Rajhi continues to lead Jari Ketomaa by 1min 08.6sec, with Karl Kruuda third, a further 33.4sec back.