Thunderstorms had meant that no play was possible all morning at Le Golf National - and this after nearly two and a half hours were lost on Friday afternoon.
But once surface water had been cleared out of bunkers and the downpour had moved away, Jiménez burst from two under par to five under and from joint 27th into a tie for sixth spot.
The 46 year old Spaniard, who beat Lee Westwood in a play-off for the Dubai Desert Classic in February, was still five behind compatriot Alejandro Cañizares, however.
Westwood and Rory McIlroy were quick off the mark too, both opening with birdie threes to climb to four under and joint tenth.
Cañizares, the son of former Ryder Cup hero José Maria, led by one at halfway from defending champion Martin Kaymer, with Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen one further back.
Providing there were no more hold-ups, the tournament could get back on schedule tonight, play having gone on until nearly 10pm the previous day.
With a first prize of €500,000, Jiménez was eyeing a possible move from 17th in The Ryder Cup table all the way to fifth.
Canizares leapt into a three shot lead the moment he and Kaymer were back on the course.
While the Madrid golfer hit his approach to five feet and made the birdie putt, German Kaymer spun his second into the lake and bogeyed.
Jimenez remained five under after six holes and Westwood went alongside him with a two-putt birdie on the long third.
Kaymer hit straight back with a tee shot to a foot on the short second, but Cañizares was the one to birdie the 563 yard third, getting up and down from a bunker, and restored his three stroke advantage at 12 under.
Into the picture came Australian Adam Scott with three successive birdies to the fifth, while Indian Jyoti Randhawa eagled the third and was seven under as well.
Jiménez had his fourth birdie on the ninth to be one further back and out in 32.
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