(Reuters) - Hyundai's Thierry Neuville will lead the Kenyan Safari Rally into its final stretch after pulling 57.4 seconds clear of the rest on Saturday.
Toyota's Japanese Takamoto Katsuta was his closest rival, with championship leader Sebastien Ogier in third place and a minute and 15 seconds behind Neuville.
Seven times world champion Ogier started the day fourth in his Toyota and won three of the six stages with heavy rain making conditions muddy and slippery at the end.
"We didn’t expect to have so much rain in the last stage; it started to pour down like crazy after five km or so," said the Frenchman.
"When the ground here gets wet it can be very slippery and this was confirmed. Some sections were like driving on ice, so I’m very happy I kept the car on the road, and it also allowed us to gain a position.
"Tomorrow there are still some very rough sections to go through though, so it’s far from over."
Neuville said he was relieved to have stretched his advantage.
"Keeping the position was the most important thing today," said the Belgian.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Mark Potter)