Defending World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier claimed the overall lead of Rally Monte Carlo after the three morning stages of Day 2.
The Friday morning loop also claimed the rally's first major retirements in Robert Kubica and Monaco debutant Hayden Paddon.
Kubica skidded off the icy road in the first stage of the day, while Paddon damaged his lower left suspension in the very same test, which was topped by Ogier.
The Frenchman then made a tiny mistake in SS4, resulting in a small puncture, and ended up 0.7s short of pace-setter Kris Meeke.
However, he would fight back in a big way through SS5, beating the Citroen driver by eight seconds.
The leading duo, separated by less than two seconds in the overall classification, stretched their advantage to 37.7s over Andreas Mikkelsen.
Jari-Matti Latvala completed a consistent morning in a bid to avoid repeating the costly mistake he made on Thursday.
Still, the Finn ended up more than 50 seconds behind his French teammate, while the top five was rounded out by leading Hyundai driver Theirry Neuville.
M-Sport duo Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli occupied sixth and eighth respectively, with Dani Sordo slotting in between.
Citroen protege Stephane Lefebvre was ninth, trailing Camilli by just two seconds, Ott Tanak's DMACK Fiesta completing the top 10.
Standings after SS2:
|Pos.||Driver / Co-Driver||Car||Time/Delay|
Thierry NeuvilleNicolas Gilsoul