Sebastien Ogier put the rest of the field over half a minute behind by the end of day two of the Rally of Portugal.
Despite comfortably leading the event following mistakes by main opposition Mads Ostberg and Dani Sordo, Ogier had no qualms about continuing to push, and was fastest on all three Saturday afternoon stages.
That put the Frenchman 34 seconds clear of Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, who lost a small amount of time with a puncture late on the final stage. That delay aside, Latvala was delighted with his strongest day in a Polo yet.
Mikko Hirvonen did his utmost in the third-placed Citroen, but ended the day 1m08s off the lead.
While two VWs dominated at the front, the third was tearing through the points positions.
Andreas Mikkelsen's recovery drive following his Friday issues brought him up to sixth, albeit helped by Michal Kosciuszko damaging his Mini and Martin Prokop's Ford encountering transmission problems.
The top five remains a long shot for Mikkelsen. Fourth-placed Evgeny Novikov is a comfortable three minutes clear, and his M-Sport team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah has so far stopped Mikkelsen getting any closer than a minute to his fifth position.
Robert Kubica's promising but difficult World Rally Championship debut ran into more problems on Saturday afternoon.
Despite Citroen hoping it had fixed his unique gearshift system at service, it failed again early on the first stage. Additional issues then led to Kubica parking on stage 10.
Leading positions after SS11: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier VW 2h36m55.1s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala VW + 34.8s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 1m08.5s 4. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 4m23.9s 5. Nasser Al-Attiyah M-Sport Ford + 6m19.2s 6. Andreas Mikkelsen VW + 7m22.3s 7. Dennis Kuipers M-Sport Ford + 8m29.0s 8. Esapekka Lappi Skoda + 10m49.3s 9. Khalid Al Qassimi Citroen + 11m09.9s 10. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 11m10.0s