Nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb became the new leader of Rally Mexico in the Saturday morning leg as four drivers are separated by 15.5s.
Loeb, who kicked off the day second overall behind Dani Sordo, topped the first of three stages and beat the Spaniard by 12.3s to take first place.
He was narrowly faster than Sordo in the subsequent SS12 but lost three seconds in SS13 and Loeb ended the leg with a lead of only 2.9s.
The aforementioned two stages were topped by Kris Meeke and Sebastien Ogier, the duo forming a four-way fight for the win as both of them are 15.5s behind Loeb.
Andreas Mikkelsen in fifth doubled his gap to the leader and is over a minute adrift now.
The Hyundai driver lost most of his time in SS11, when he misunderstood a pace note.
"It was really fast [corner] but I thought it was slow. I was braking on a straight," said Mikkelsen.
He was followed by his teammate Thierry Neuville, who also had problems at the same stage as he struggled to restart his Hyundai's engine after a water splash.
The Belgian is 4m08.6s behind and is the last main-class driver to be in the overall top eight as Ott Tanak retired from the day.
The Estonian ended Friday in third as the sole Toyota in contention for the win after both Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi lost several minutes due to engine problems.
Tanak's engine then also developed problems on the first stage of Saturday, and was forced to withdraw from the day.
Pontus Tidemand and Gus Greensmith, first and second in WRC2, are seventh and eighth with Toyota duo Latvala and Tanak rounding out the top 10.