Jyväskylä, Finland: Elfyn Evans charged into the lead at Rally Finland on Saturday and won all four morning stages as Toyota team-mate Kalle Rovanpera crashed out after ploughing into a gravel pile.
Overnight leader Craig Breen trails Welshman Evans by 5.6 seconds through 10 of 19 specials, with 2019 world champion Ott Tanak third at 9.7sec.
Local favourite Rovanpera was in fourth place when his hopes of home success came to an abrupt halt after his Toyota was damaged beyond repair on stage 10.
The Finn’s retirement allowed championship leader Sebastien Ogier to climb to sixth. The French driver could clinch an eighth world title this weekend if results go his way, but is almost a minute off the pace.
“We’re doing our race. Our speed isn’t fantastic but we’re doing what we can,” said Ogier.
Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta was forced out on stage eight when his Toyota landed awkwardly after a jump and went into the undergrowth.
Five more stages are scheduled for Saturday, with the rally concluding on Sunday.