Mike Lorenzo-Vera carded a second consecutive 68 to set the clubhouse target on day two of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The Frenchman went eight seasons without a European Tour top three before finishing third on home soil in the Rolex Series at the 2017 HNA Open de France and he has been trending in the right direction ever since.
He cut an emotional figure when losing a play-off at last season's Rocco Forte Sicilian Open but looks to be edging ever closer to a first European Tour win after 177 appearances.
Lorenzo-Vera made five birdies and a bogey in calmer winds than on day one at Doha Golf Club to move to eight under, a shot clear of England's Oliver Wilson.
Belgian duo Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Detry, South African Jacques Kruyswijk and Scot Richie Ramsay were then at six under.
Lorenzo-Vera birdied his opening hole to move into a share of the lead and it was soon a four way tie as Colsaerts in the group behind birdied the same hole.
Another Lorenzo-Vera gain on the 14th handed him top spot on his own and while Colsaerts dropped a shot on the 15th, he regained it on the 17th.
Lorenzo-Vera then bogeyed the first to make it a five way tie and a Colsaerts gain on the same hole meant it was the 2012 Ryder Cup star in the lead.
Colsaerts bogeyed the second and a monster putt on the third from Lorenzo-Vera meant he led once more, with another birdie on the fourth moving him two clear.
A tee shot to two feet on the par three eighth saw the 34-year-old set the target at eight under and Colsaerts birdied the same hole from six feet to sign for a 70.
That duo had been out in the first two groups of the day and the lead stayed at two for a while before Wilson holed a 12 footer on the last to get to seven under.
The 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner added to birdies on the first, seventh and tenth in a 68 that kept him bogey free for the week.
Detry had a roller coaster of a 68, birdieing the first but dropping shots on the second and fifth before making gains on the sixth, eighth, tenth, 11th and 13th to vault to six under.
Bogeys on the 14th and 15th dropped him back but the 26-year-old holed from five feet at the 16th and put his tee shot to similar range on the next to bounce back.
Kruyswijk cancelled out a birdie on the tenth with a dropped shot on the 13th but made gains on the 16th, 18th and second before holing a huge putt on the fourth. A closing birdie on the par five ninth then moved him within two.
Ramsay birdied the seventh and tenth - from five feet - but dropped a shot on the 17th before picking it straight back up in a 70.
Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares, Australian Nick Cullen, Wales' Bradley Dredge and Englishman Paul Waring were three shots off the lead.
South African Darren Fichardt - winner of this event in 2003 - posted the lowest round of the week so far, making birdies on the first, third, fifth, sixth, eighth, 13th, 14th and 16th in a 64 to get into the group at four under.