Sebastien Ogier has charged into a comfortable lead at the end of day one in Portugal.
Five wins from the six stages run today have given the Citroen Junior driver a 26.6-second advantage over second-placed Dani Sordo (Citroen), and a 44sec cushion back to championship leader Sebastien Loeb, who holds third in the second works Citroen.
Ogier had taken the lead from Sordo this morning, then shook off the Spaniard and pulled away with a dominant performance on the afternoon loop. He must now run first on the road on Saturday, but will do so with a healthy lead.
"It was a good day - we tried to push hard all day and the car was perfect," said Ogier. "Now let's see what happens tomorrow. It's going to be difficult being first on the road, but that's how it is."
Sordo had stayed within 8sec of Ogier until a braking issue going into a hairpin on today's final stage, Silves, cost him a lot of time.
"I braked and the car continued to push. I had really good luck, because I went off a little bit," Sordo explained. "I don't know what happened. But I've arrived at the end, so I am happy."
Loeb, Ford's top driver Mikko Hirvonen and Solberg Citroen's Petter Solberg are covered by just 5.1sec in third to fifth places. The title rivals struggled with their positions on the running order today, with Ogier enjoying better stage conditions as the cars ahead cleared the dust from the surface. Solberg also lost time with a puncture on the last stage.
Jari-Matti Latvala remains a quiet sixth on his return to the rally where he suffered a horrifying accident in 2009, and is now just over a minute away from the lead.
Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg still has Latvala in sight despite various steering problems today. His team-mate Matthew Wilson is eighth, with returnee Mads Ostberg (Adapta Subaru) an unhappy ninth and struggling with understeer and high tyre wear.
Kimi Raikkonen continues to hold 10th for Citroen Junior, and had mixed feelings about his first full day in Portugal. "For sure the second pass, once I've gone once through the stages, is much easier, so it improves a bit," he said. "But the morning was very difficult. The pace notes were too slow and the grip was more than I expected. But we have to learn this rally."
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 1h20m34.4s
2. Dani Sordo Citroen + 26.6s
3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 44.8s
4. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 46.9s
5. Petter Solberg Citroen + 49.9s
6. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1m02.8s
7. Henning Solberg Ford + 1m20.7s
8. Matthew Wilson Ford + 1m54.6s
9. Mads Ostberg Subaru + 2m37.3s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen + 3m18.1s