The weather frustrated Lancashire as just 40 overs being possible on day three against Leicestershire derailed their efforts to win Division Two of the LV= County Championship with two games to spare.
The hosts, who can achieve promotion and seal the title with victory at Emirates Old Trafford, dominated the action that was possible but ultimately require 17 wickets over the final act.
When the rain arrived at 2pm, Leicestershire were 60 for three from 22 overs in reply to the Red Rose’s 453 for seven declared in their first innings, which brought five batting bonus points.
If Lancashire win, they will achieve their main goal for 2013 no matter what Essex do against Kent at Canterbury. Meanwhile, a draw could still be enough if Essex fail to emerge triumphant.
Lancashire added 109 runs in 18 overs during the morning before the declaration came.
Stand-in captain Paul Horton added six to his overnight score of 150 to secure his highest score on this ground but was one of three Red Rose wickets to fall, two of which went to the part-time off-spin of sometime wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley.
Niall O'Brien and Michael Thornely added an unbroken 46 for the fourth wicket to rescue Leicestershire's reply from 14 for three. They will both begin day four unbeaten on 23 with their side still 393 in arrears.
Lancashire's pursuit of a maximum five batting bonus points was led by Luke Procter's 44 off 53 balls and wicketkeeper Alex Davies' 30 not out off 31, including four fours and a straight six.
After Nathan Buck bowled Horton, Eckersley had Tom Smith caught at first slip reverse-sweeping for 23 and Procter stumped.
Oliver Newby, playing his first match of the season like Davies, then put Leicestershire under the cosh with a wicket in each of his first two overs.
He forced Greg Smith to chop onto his stumps with his third ball and had Angus Robson caught at second slip. Eckersley then feathered Kyle Hogg behind to further undermine the visitors.
A total of 137 overs have fallen to the weather across the first three days of the match.