Sebastien Ogier is cruising towards Rally Italy victory, while a crash for Mikko Hirvonen moved Thierry Neuville into second.
Hirvonen opened the morning with the fastest time, bringing the gap over the chasing Neuville up to nine seconds.
But at the first hairpin of the next stage, Hirvonen rolled his Citroen into retirement.
That put Neuville's M-Sport Ford into a potential career-best second place, although he must still watch Jari-Matti Latvala behind him.
Latvala made short work of Dani Sordo's Citroen on the opening loop - helped by the Spaniard having a quick spin - and is now 35s behind Neuville following a slight error by the M-Sport driver on SS12.
Neuville's mistake, and his more cautious pace after Hirvonen's accident, means Ogier's lead is up to 1m15s with four stages remaining.
Sordo is now fourth, with Andreas Mikkelsen closing on him slightly in the third VW.
Mads Ostberg rejoined under Rally 2 following his Friday evening crash, and is now ninth.
Robert Kubica continues to comfortably lead WRC 2.
Leading positions after SS12: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier VW 2h32m41.3s 2. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford + 1m15.9s 3. Jari-Matti Latvala VW + 1m51.4s 4. Dani Sordo Citroen + 2m12.2s 5. Andreas Mikkelsen VW + 2m32.1s 6. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 6m56.0s 7. Michal Kosciuszko Lotos Ford + 9m24.4s 8. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford + 9m30.7s 9. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford + 12m17.1s 10. Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen + 13m11.8s