Bryan Bouffier managed to hold Sebastien Ogier at bay as the World Rally champion's charge continued on day two of the Monte Carlo Rally.
Ogier's Volkswagen was comfortably fastest on the 49-kilometre Vitrolles-Faye stage that opened the leg.
In the process he vaulted Robert Kubica's M-Sport Ford and Kris Meeke's Citroen to move from fourth to second, and cut M-Sport guest driver Bouffier's lead to 35 seconds.
But on the following stage Bouffier was able to fight back, outpacing Ogier by two tenths and keeping his lead at 35.8s heading for midday service.
Ogier also had a scare at the end of stage eight when he lost control on slippery asphalt immediately after the flying finish and had to take to a field to avoid the timing and media crews at the stop line.
Meeke and Kubica remain in a tight fight, now over third place. After Meeke pulled away on SS7, Kubica fought back on SS8, leaving them just 0.8s apart.
Mads Ostberg is still fifth, despite having the same issue as Ogier at SS8's cramped finish.
Jari-Matti Latvala took sixth from Elfyn Evans on the day's first stage, but Evans held on to seventh as his M-Sport team-mate Mikko Hirvonen lost more time with a misted windscreen on SS8.
Leading positions after SS8: Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Bryan Bouffier M-Sport Ford 2h08m58.4s 2. Sebastien Ogier VW +35.8s 3. Kris Meeke Citroen +59.6s 4. Robert Kubica M-Sport Ford +1m00.4s 5. Mads Ostberg Citroen +2m17.1s 6. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +2m57.1s 7. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +3m55.3s 8. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +4m50.8s 9. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +5m06.2s 10. Jaroslav Melicharek Slovakia Ford +9m49.0s
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