Kris Meeke extended his advantage over defending world champion Sebastien Ogier on day three of the Rally de Portugal.
After going quickest through the three morning stages on Saturday, Meeke extended his lead from 31.9 seconds to over one minute.
However, he refused to push his Citroen too hard during the afternoon session and by the end of the day his lead had been cut to 45.3secs
"I was thinking about protecting my lead," said Meeke.
"I took two spares [tyres] but it was difficult to manage as it changed the attitude and balance of the car on roads that were narrow and required quick changes of direction."
Ogier finished the day strongly after a pair of stage wins for Andreas Mikkelsen had moved the Norwegian ahead of his Volkswagen team-mate.
Dani Sordo was unable to maintain his strong pace on Friday and slipped to fourth, while Thierry Neuville retired from fifth after running out of fuel and Stefan Lefebvre pulled out after sustaining suspension damage.
Rally Argentina winner Hayden Paddon did not compete after his car was burned to a shell following a crash on Friday.