Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, in a Volkswagen, led the way in the Rally of Sweden on Friday after winning five of the day's eight stages, building up a lead of over 30 seconds.
Ogier, bidding to go one better than the second place he managed last month in Monte Carlo's season-opener, led world champion Sebastien Loeb of Citroen and Volkswagen's Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala.
"Incredible. It's a really good feeling. This morning wasn't perfect but it was enough with a good road position. This afternoon was perfect," said Ogier.
Nine-time world champion Loeb, who won in Monte Carlo, is racing as part of a slimmed down schedule of just four races this season but has only triumphed in Sweden once - in 2004.
His only other appearances this season will be in Argentina and his home rally in France.
"It started to be hard for the tyres. I had two spares and used them both. The road is cleaning because the times behind me are faster. Tomorrow our start position will be closer to the others," said Loeb.
Latvala won the event in 2012 but Ford drivers have won the past six editions.