Spaniard Dani Sordo took the lead in the Rally of Sardinia by winning the second and fourth stages on Friday morning.
The Hyundai driver overtook Finn Teemu Suninen in an M-Sport Ford with Frenchman Sebastien Ogier of Toyota third.
Sordo, who has not finished in the top 10 this season but won in Italy last year, grabbed the lead when he was fastest by 9.4sec on the fourth stage, the last one on the morning loop.
"It's good!" he said. "The car is really nice to drive".
Sordo leads Suninen by 7.5sec and Ogier by 18.6sec.
The rally is the penultimate leg of the abbreviated World Rally Championship and Ogier is second in the standings to his British team-mate Elfyn Evans for the title.
"I think so far it is working well," said Ogier after the fourth stage. "So we have to keep going. The car is working pretty well."
Evans is fourth. Reigning champion Ott Tanak, who is third in the overall standings, lost 1min 49.6sec after battling a mechanical issue in his Hyundai.