Paolo Andreucci edged clear of his Sanremo Rally rivals as the penultimate round of the 2013 European Rally Championship moved into darkness on Friday night.
The usual epic 56-kilometre Ronde stage was split into two for this year's rally, and by the end of it veteran Italian Andreucci had extended his lead from 0.4 seconds to a much more comfortable 16.2s.
Giandomenico Basso, the 2012 Sanremo winner, now holds second, having outpaced fellow local star Umberto Scandola through the night stages. Scandola was left enraged by his pace on Ronde B as he fell 20s behind Basso.
Erstwhile rally leader Bryan Bouffier began his climb back up the leaderboard with the fastest time on the first night stage. Although still 1m02s off the lead, he is now back up from eighth to fourth following his SS3 incident.
One of Bouffier's place gains came through the retirement of fellow ERC regular Craig Breen.
An impact on SS5 left the baffled Breen's Sainteloc Peugeot with too much suspension damage to continue.
Works Skoda driver Esapekka Lappi runs sixth as he continues to build asphalt experience.
Leading positions after SS5: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Paolo Andreucci FPF Peugeot 1h12m50.5s 2. Giandomenico Basso Munaretto Peugeot +16.2s 3. Umberto Scandola SA Skoda +36.2s 4. Bryan Bouffier Delta Peugeot +1m02.4s 5. Alessandro Perico United Peugeot +1m10.6s 6. Esapekka Lappi Skoda +1m17.2s 7. Stefano Albertini Racing Lions Peugeot +1m19.4s 8. Simone Campedelli Rubicone Citroen +3m28.8s 9. Tobia Cavallini A-Style Ford +4m14.1s 10. Vasily Gryazin Kruzmanis Ford +4m40.9s