Evans, who is being co-driven in Greece by the experienced Phil Pugh, holds an advantage of almost 30s over current championship leader Alastair Fisher following Friday’s action, but insists he won’t be taking anything for granted over the final four stages on Saturday.
“We have a really good rhythm,” said Welsh ace Evans. “We are pushing hard but not doing anything silly. We had a few niggling problems but thankfully nothing major. Tomorrow will be difficult as the roads are rougher.”
Fisher, the winner of the opening round in Portugal, said before the start that he wouldn’t take any unnecessary risks in his pursuit of a top score on the Loutraki-based round. “We have been consistent on every stage so I am happy with that,” said the Northern Irishman.
Pontus Tidemand, from Sweden, is third following a cautious drive with Brendan Reeves fourth following set-up changes to his Fiesta after the Australian reported the rear of the car was sliding too much.
John MacCrone is sixth overnight after a puncture on stage four dropped him behind Spaniard Jose Suarez. Joao Silva, from Portugal, is seventh with American Chris Duplessis in eighth spot. South Africa’s Ashley Haigh-Smith, who is making his first start of the season in the WRC Academy, holds ninth place having spent the day improving his car’s set-up and his own pace notes.
Fredrik Ahlin restarted on Friday morning following his retirement on Thursday evening with a reported engine glitch but lost time with a gearbox leak. The luckless Swede is in 10th place but admitted to lacking motivation despite setting some encouraging stage times.
Dutch driver Timo van der Marel retired at the end of stage four but will restart on Saturday under Rally 2 regulations.
“I don’t exactly know where it happened, but we hit a rock and cracked the wishbone,” he said. “The crack got larger and eventually broke on stage four. We kept driving to the end of the stage so that we could change it on the road section but between the finish and stop control the driveshaft came out of the gearbox and we couldn’t go any further.”