Sebastien Ogier steered clear of trouble in the first two of the Rally GB final day’s four stages despite having to contend with heavy rain, fog and strong wind.
The Frenchman was 14.9s slower than Jari-Matti Latvala through SS15 and then went sixth-fastest in the following run, which also topped by his Finnish teammate.
"A safe rhythm. All good, no problems at all, I just want to finish like this. No point to push for me," said Ogier, who had given up a victory with a late crash in Spain last time out.
His gap to Kris Meeke here has shrunk to 27.9s but the Briton has Andreas Mikkelsen closing in on him, the Norwegian going second behind Latvala in both stages.
The first and so far only victim of the day was Ott Tanak, whose consistent rally was ruined by a crash 5km into SS16, allowing Dani Sordo to move up to fourth. closely followed by Hayden Paddon and Elfyn Evans.
More than a minute behind Evans, Mads Ostberg opted to cruise in order to help Citroen's bid for runner-up in the teams' standings with as many points as possible.
The French team needs to avoid being outscored by Hyundai by five points or more and is currently looking to score 24 points to the Korean manufacturer's 22.
Results after SS17:
|Pos.||Driver / Co-Driver||Car||Time/Delay|