The seven-times world champion Sebastien Loeb, seeking to win the Rally of Germany for a record ninth time, opened a lead of 7.4 seconds after the first day.
Speeding past vineyards on dusty country roads near Trier, a stone's throw from his Alsatian home across the border in France, Loeb shook off fellow Citroen driver Sebastien Ogier who was in second place.
Ogier briefly threatened compatriot Loeb when he slashed his lead to 0.9 seconds with victory in the fourth stage.
However Loeb responded in style though, driving faster in the final two stages as Ogier paid dearly for some mistakes and almost overshot two junctions.
Mikko Hirvonen of Finland was third in his Ford, one minute 18 seconds off the pace.
Spain's Dani Sordo claimed fourth spot in his works Mini.