Estonian World Rally Championship star Ott Tänak finished top of the table after day two of Rally de Portugal, though the going has been quite heavy, he says, with a need to preserve tires being foremost on his and co-driver Martin Järveoja's minds going into Saturday.
Following the test that wrapped up Friday's events near Porto, in the north of the country, Tänak (Hyundai) finished 1.3 seconds ahead of reigning world champion and five-time Portugal winner Sebastien Ogier (France, Toyota).
Welsh driver Elfyn Evans (Toyota) lay in third and Spanish driver and Tänak's teammate, Dani Sordo, was in fourth, at the end of Friday's events.
Tänak's teammate Thierry Neuville of Belgium crashed out on stage 7.
Tänak said Friday had been a very demanding day, with the primary goal on Saturday being a need to preserve the Hyundai i20's tires.
"It's been extremely demanding. It is quite variable and is hard to find a good balance for the tires. Each test was a little bit special, and it wasn't easy to deal with," Tänak told WRC All Live.
"You always come to win, nothing less. We still have a lot to make clear tonight so that we will be in the best shape tomorrow morning. I didn't feel quite natural in the car all the time, but the car is fast and when you push, you're fast," Tänak, 33, from Saaremaa, went on.
The rally is set to be the longest of the season, at 337 km and over 20 speed tests, starting in the Coimbra district and ending in the Braga district.
The road surface is generally soft and sandy, but occasionally there are more rocky spots, where drivers have to deal with potholes, particularly on repeat runs.
The remaining schedule for the weekend is below.
Test Paredes 4,60 km 11.01 EVANS
SS1 Lousa 1 12,35 km 10.08 TÄNAK
SS2 Gois 1 19,51 km 11.08 SORDO
SS3 Arganil 1 18,82 km 12.08 SORDO
SS4 Lousa 2 12,35 km 14.31 ROVANPERÄ
SS5 Gois 2 19,51 km 15.31 SORDO
SS6 Arganil 2 18,82 km 16.38 TÄNAK
SS7 Mortagua 18,16 km 18.05 OGIER/EVANS
SS8 SSS Lousada 3,36 km 21.03 TÄNAK
SS9 Vieira do Minho 1 20,64 km 10.08
SS10 Cabeceiras de Basto 1 22,37 km 11.08
SS11 Amarante 1 37,92 km 12.24
SS12 Vieira do Minho 2 20,64 km 16.38
SS13 Cabeceiras de Basto 2 22,37 km 17.38
SS14 Amarante 2 37,92 km 18.54
SS15 SSS Porto - Foz 3,30 km 21.03
SS16 Felgueiras 1 9,18 km 9.08
SS17 Montim 8,75 km 9.53
SS18 Fafe 1 11,18 km 10.38
SS19 Felgueiras 2 9,18 km 12.04
SS20 Fafe 2 (PK) 11,18 km 14.18
Editor: Andrew Whyte