He is now just 1.5 seconds behind Meeke heading to the after-dark runs through Dyfnant and Aberhirnant that conclude the day.
Thierry Neuville was quickest on the short Slate Mountain stage and is still in victory contention in third, 4.2s off the lead and 2.7s ahead of championship leader Ott Tanak.
The rest of the order is currently unclear as Penmachno was interrupted by a crash for Jari-Matti Latvala.
The Toyota driver had slipped back from third to fifth on Elsi as he suspected a puncture, and then rolled early on the next stage.
Though Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila quickly indicated that they were unhurt, officials opted to stop the stage to send medical crews in to make precautionary checks because of the size of the impact.
The stage was stopped with only six cars having gone through, and Slate Mountain was delayed while the rest made their way through Penmachno slowly.
Nominal times will eventually be awarded. Andreas Mikkelsen and Teemu Suninen are currently listed in fifth and sixth places, but are set to move down when times are given to the likes of Craig Breen – who had been sixth behind Latvala before the incident.
Citroen also lost a car during the afternoon, with Esapekka Lappi going off the road on Elsi when holding seventh place