Kris Meeke holds a slender 6.9-second advantage over Sebastien Ogier after the first two stages of the Rallye Monte-Carlo on Thursday.
Ogier, the reigning champion, led after the first stage as the 2016 World Rally Championship got under way.
But Meeke hit back in his Citroen, eclipsing his Volkswagen-driving rival Ogier by a total of 11 seconds after the 20.38-kilometre test.
Ogier was a little too cautious in his last five kilometres of the second stage, where the road was covered in snow and ice.
VW team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen rounded out the top-three after the first night of action, finishing 20 seconds behind leader Meeke.
Hyundai's Thierry Neuville was a further 10 seconds behind Mikkelsen, while Hayden Paddon - who is the only Hyundai driver with the 2015 spec - finished fifth after the first two stages.
Former Formula One driver Robert Kubica claimed eighth spot.
Day two features six stages with a total of 116.5km to cover.