Having emerged on top following the mayhem of SS1, the Russian driver kept his edge through the darkness of SS2 Kineta.
Novikov beat Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala to the fastest time by 2.8 seconds, putting his M-Sport Ford 30.3s clear of Dani Sordo's Citroen in the overall standings.
Sordo and Latvala are split by 8.8s, as the Finn closed the gap to the Spaniard by 6.9s on Kineta. Latvala also established some breathing space over Novikov's fourth-placed team-mate Thierry Neuville, who had been right on his tail.
Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg are back up to speed after their SS1 problems, albeit several minutes behind the leaders.
World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier will not rejoin until Saturday morning following his SS1 retirement with what was diagnosed as fuel feed problems on his VW.
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