Sebastien Loeb stretched his lead over Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to 11.2 seconds as leg one of Rally Mexico came to a close.
The world champion won the Leon street stage, and then took more time out of the Finn on the two evening runs through the superspecial, which were affected by heavy rain.
Mads Ostberg (Adapta Ford) managed to maintain a cushion of 16s over recovering works Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala through the three short stages, but Latvala's team-mate Petter Solberg moved past Ott Tanak to take fifth. A 10s penalty for the M-Sport Ford for checking in late at a time control cost him the place, but he got back to within 1.3s of Solberg with quick times on the superspecial.
The unusual weather for the superspecial meant some different names atop the stage times, as Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar Citroen) claimed his first World Rally Championship stage win on the opening run, and returnee Chris Atkinson went quickest in his Monster Ford on the second pass.
Leading positions after SS12:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1h24m46.4s
2. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 11.2s
3. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 1m11.9s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1m27.9s
5. Petter Solberg Ford + 1m35.4s
6. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 1m36.7s
7. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 2m02.0s
8. Chris Atkinson Monster Ford + 2m33.7s
9. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar Citroen + 2m48.6s
10. Armindo Araujo Portugal Mini + 3m30.2s