Thierry Neuville is in position to record only his second World Rally Championship win after strengthening his position on day two of the Rally Italy.
Hyundai driver Neuville led by 11.1 seconds from Jari-Matti Latvala overnight, but initially saw his advantage cut on Saturday.
However, Neuville responded by winning two of the day's final three stages and will head into Sunday's final four legs 16.1 seconds clear of Latvala.
"The car was amazing to drive in slippery conditions," said a delighted Neuville, whose only previous rally win came two years ago in Germany.
"We've had another good day and it was a pleasure to fight Jari-Matti. Tomorrow [Sunday] will be tough but we'll prepare properly and continue fighting."
While Latvala remained in close contention, Volkswagen team-mate Sebastian Ogier, the championship leader, was more than a minute off the pace in third.