Hayden Paddon and John Kennard have a margin of over 36 minutes in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship class as the second day of Rally New Zealand concludes.
But the ever-hungry Kiwi star reckons there's still room for improvement.
"It hasn't been a bad day, better than yesterday," says the current production world rally champion, who struggled to make it back to the service park on Friday evening, after losing second and sixth gears, and then the clutch as the first day's action finished. Paddon came into the New Zealand SWRC round - his home round - second on the championship points-table, behind Irishman Craig Breen.
"I'm on stages that I enjoy up here in the Kaipara and Whangarei districts. We're not there with the car yet - there's room for improvement.
"We're still learning with this car. It's our first season with the S2000-spec Skoda and we started from scratch, but you know it is pretty slippery with drizzle off and on today, and we haven't had any problems since replacing the gearbox and clutch last night."
Paddon remains focussed on securing the best possible haul of championship points.
"It's a much shorter day tomorrow - just over 60 km - so John and I are looking to bring it home to get the points."
Paddon's closest SWRC rival is Swedish driver Per-Gunnar Andersson. The Proton driver started with a hiss and a roar on Friday's stages near Raglan and west of Huntly, but then crashed on the third stage and also went off today.
Polish driver Maciej Oleksowicz holds third in the SWRC category, with Alister McRae from the UK and Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi rounding out the five-strong SWRC field that travelled to New Zealand.
Tomorrow - the final day - includes 61.33 km of competition through the tarmac runs around Auckland Domain, and stages around Puhoi and Kaukapakapa, before the ceremonial finish at Silo Park on Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.