Gap - Six-time world champion Sebastien Ogier guided his Citroen through ice and snow to extend a slender overnight lead over Belgium's Thierry Neuville, who goes into the final day of the Monte Carlo rally breathing down the leader's neck.
With roads more ice-slick than expected in the early stages the pair started Saturday's run from Alpine town Gap with Ogier just two seconds ahead.
Neuville kept pace all the way through the treacherous winding hills into Monte Carlo arriving just 4.3 seconds adrift after a nervy day's racing.
Much had been made Friday of the tyre choices and Ogier again appeared to make the better technical decision choosing super-soft studded to Neuville's choice of regular-soft.
The game would appear to be up for third-placed Sebastien Loeb, who has nine world titles, as he raced into his home town almost two minutes down after stalling his Hyundai early on.
Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala in a Toyota is fourth and his stablemate Estonia's Ott Tanak is fifth after both men enjoyed the day in icy conditions.
Andreas Mikkelsen was third overnight but ripped off part of the side of his Hyundai when slamming into a wall and retired after the finish line.
The rally culminates Sunday with two loops of Monte Carlo where huge crowds are expected on the celebrated Col de Turini, at the two specials and the Power Stage.