Basso began day two 4.1 seconds behind Mikkelsen and the Norwegian made a strong start in his normally aspirated ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000 by winning the opening 6.82-kilometre Monte Benedetto test.
That took his lead to 9.2 seconds but Basso set the fastest time in SS7, the first of three runs of the 15.85-kilometre Rofelle stage, in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC for the Italian A-Style Team.
It was Basso’s third stage victory on the gravel event, round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and the remaining 1.3 second deficit was wiped out on SS8, the 14.45-kilometre Sant’Agata Feltria stage.
IRC newcomer Germain Bonnefis, in a Peugeot Sport 207 Super 2000, emerged as a future star by claiming his maiden stage victory in SS8.
Basso, a four-time winner in the IRC, was second with defending series champion Mikkelsen, who completed the last four kilometres of the run with no powersteering, third.
Umberto Scandola is a distant third overall, 33.1 seconds behind the leaders.