Sebastien Ogier continues to lead the Jordan Rally with one loop of stages to go, though Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Loeb are edging closer.
Citroen driver Ogier had chosen not to use slowing tactics yesterday afternoon and instead pushed to give himself the biggest lead possible when running first on the road today.
He held a 31-second lead overnight, and though he has lost time on the dusty surface this morning, he has been able to maintain an 18.9sec cushion over Latvala (Ford) after the first loop of four stages.
"We have a gap but for sure we will still have to push if we want to win," said Ogier.
His teammate Loeb is 1.8sec behind Latvala in the battle for second, and was quickest on two of this morning's four stages.
"When it's slow, we are slow. When it's fast, we are very quick. I don't know why," said Loeb. "I may change the setup of the car a bit. We'll have to check that. We'll push but it was in the morning that we had to do something, and we missed it, and now we have another problem in Jari-Matti."
Latvala had looked like he would emerge as Ogier's main rival as he moved past Loeb for second, but the Finn was surprised by the champion coming back at him on the Baptism Site stage.
"Loeb was incredibly quick. I don't know where he got the time, but I'm still fighting," said Latvala.
Petter Solberg also remains in podium contention, 8s behind Latvala and Loeb's battle in fourth in his Citroen.
Although Mikko Hirvonen is out of touch with the leaders in the second Ford following his Friday problems, he showed his speed by winning SS14 and SS15.
Kimi Raikkonen (Ice 1 Citroen) has stayed ahead of Matthew Wilson (Stobart Ford) in their battle for sixth, while Federico Villagra is similar resisting pressure from Khalid Al Qassimi for eighth.
Leading positions after SS16:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 2h11m11.7s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 18.9s
3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 20.7s
4. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen + 28.8s
5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 2m19.8s
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ice 1 Citroen + 4m12.9s
7. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford + 4m23.2s
8. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford + 7m09.9s
9. Khalid Al Qassimi Abu Dhabi Ford + 7m18.4s
10. Dennis Kuipers Ferm Ford + 10m41.4s