Hyundai's Hayden Paddon was quickest on the first run of the 50km Nambucca stage and jumped from fourth to second in the overall classification, 13.4s behind leader Andreas Mikkelsen.
The Norwegian was 10 seconds slower than Paddon in SS12, even though the latter spent the stage with dust inside his car.
"Right from the first corner we had dust billowing into the car. I was distracted in a few places but I just tried to forget about it," said Paddon.
"I thought maybe the rear door was open, but perhaps it's a hole somewhere under the car."
Paddon covered the holes in his car for SS13, topped by Jari-Matti Latvala, but was just a tenth ahead of Mikkelsen.
Sebastien Ogier dropped behind Paddon to sit third overall, shadowing the Hyundai driver by three seconds with Thierry Neuville a further 23s down.
Mads Ostberg continued to hold fifth while his M-Sport teammate Eric Camilli dropped behind Dani Sordo.
Standings after SS13:
|1||Volkswagen Polo R||1h34m51.6s|
|2||Hyundai NG i20||+13.4s|
|3||Volkswagen Polo R||+16.6s|
|4||Hyundai NG i20||+39.6s|
|Ford Fiesta RS||+46.7s|
|6||Hyundai NG i20||+1m00.9s|
|Ford Fiesta RS||+1m05.0s|
|Ford Fiesta RS||+1m37.3s|
|Ford Fiesta RS||+3m38.4s|
|Skoda Fabia R5||+4m05.6s|