Sebastien Ogier admitted that he briefly considered allowing Jari-Matti Latvala to retain the World Rally Championship lead at the end of Rally Mexico.
Ogier's win, with Volkswagen team-mate Latvala in second, thrust him past the Finn to the head of the points.
He could have remained behind even while winning the rally overall however had he backed off on the power stage and let Latvala claim the maximum three-point bonus for winning the live TV stage.
Under this year's WRC rules, the championship leader has to run first on the road on the first day of events, a factor that hampered Latvala in Mexico as he slipped back to fifth place while sweeping the layer of loose gravel away for the cars behind.
Ogier said that he had considered whether to deliberately disadvantage his team-mate for day one in Portugal before deciding against that tactic.
"I was really thinking about it. I am a clever guy and I wanted to use every situation I could," he said.
"I wanted to use this option. In Portugal, I thought that it might rain and that to open the road would be an advantage.
"But then I thought to lose four points here may be a bit stupid. I thought about it.
"I am certainly not afraid to open the road and I hope to go to Portugal and prove it."
Latvala conceded that he had settled for trying to bank points from Mexico once it became clear how much running first on Friday would hamper him.
"I knew that to open the road here would be difficult," he said.
"Seb was leading after day one by 40 seconds and I knew that I could not catch him by driving.
"He has been dominating and I was not able to match that.
"I decided to target the championship and take points and the plan worked."
Ogier now leads Latvala by three points in the drivers' standings.