Kosciuszko hit the front on the opening stage of the day and remained there through five of the day’s six tests. But PWRC title leader Guerra was never far from the front on his debut on the asphalt event and moved into the lead with a stunning run through stage six.
Both drivers enjoyed a largely trouble-free run through the opening day of competition, save for the long brake pedals associated with competing in near-standard cars on such twisty, technical stages in relatively hot conditions. “Today has been very tough,” said Guerra. “But it’s a great fight with Michal.”
Marcos Ligato is third despite a rising engine temperature dropping his Subaru Impreza onto safe mode on stage six. Subhan Aksa is fourth on his first event on Tarmac, although the Indonesian was frustrated when his car suffered a turbo glitch late in the day. Ricardo Trivino is fifth with Nicolas Fuchs sixth after dropping time with a fuel pump wire issue and a right-rear puncture.
Ukranian driver Valeriy Gorban’s hopes of improving on his second place in the championship were dashed when he retired on the opening test - his fellow Mentos Ascania Racing Mitsubishi driver Oleksii Kikireshko didn’t fare much better retiring his Lancer on the same test.
Ramona Karlsson, competing for the first time since her fire destroyed her Lancer on Brother Rally New Zealand in late June, retired with a mechanical failure on stage two. Louise Cook also failed to make it through the day when a suspected electrical issue resulted in her Fiesta R2 continually cutting out. She hopes to return under Rally 2 rules on Saturday.