Arjun Atwal remained on course to end a prolonged title drought while an upwardly mobile SSP Chowrasia joined the US-based Indian at tied fifth spot after the penultimate round of the Indian Masters in New Delhi on Saturday.
On a day when sub-par rounds were rare, Raphael Jacquelin's second successive eagle on the 14th hole helped the Frenchman soar to the lead after a level-par effort of 72.
Breathing down his neck, just one shot behind, was the trio of Jose Manuel Lara (71), Graeme McDowell (73) and overnight leader Damien McGrane (75) who totalled 211.
A further shot behind was the Indian duo who have spent many days playing together at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
Orlando-based Atwal had a birdie start to his round and he picked up a shot each on the fifth, 10th and 11th as well.
But in between, he double bogeyed the seventh and dropped shots on 15th and 16th to eventually settle for an even-par round.
"That double (bogey) on the seventh hurt me a lot. I just did not need that. I think I made silly mistakes today and I'm still relying on my caddy to read the line for me," said Atwal.
"Overall, I guess it was a boring round, no chip-in, no long putts, nothing spectacular. But two-three shots off the lead is okay with me. I just need to make a few more putts tomorrow," Atwal said.
In contrast, playing partner Chowrasia's round of 71 had more drama as he found the bush on quite a few occasions and still conjured up ways to bail himself out.
His spectacular birdie chip on the third hole was the highlight of his round.
210: Raphael Jacquelin (69-69-72)
211: Jose Manuel Lara (68-72-71), Graeme McDowell (69-69-73), Damien McGrane (67-69-75)
212: Arjun Atwal (70-70-72), S S P Chowrasia (70-71-71)
213: Hendrik Buhrmann (69-69-75), Maarten Lafeber (69-71-73), Ross McGowan (72-71-70).
214: Ross Bain (71-71-72), Benn Barham (69-71-74), Thomas Bjorn (68-72-74), Ernie Els (75-70-69), Gaurav Ghei(75-69-70).