A brake issue on Friday’s opening Monte Lerno test left him with no stopping power for approximately half of the 29.35-kilometre stage, which handed Marcos Ligato top spot by more than 30 seconds.
But when Ligato encountered brake issues of his own on stage five, Fuchs moved back ahead in his Symtech Racing Subaru Impreza and completed the day’s final stage 1m35.4s in front of the Mentos Ascania Racing Mitsubishi Lancer of Valeriy Gorban.
Ligato should have been closer to Fuchs but instead had to solider through Friday afternoon’s trio of stages with only three working brake calipers on his Top Run Motorsport Impreza following an earlier failure, which couldn’t be rectified at the remote service halt in Sassari. Instead the Argentine is more than one minute behind Ukrainian Gorban and 2m36.4s adrift of Fuchs.
Indonesia’s Subhan Aksa overcame an off-road moment in the morning and an overshoot in the afternoon to hold fourth. Oleksii Kikireshko is fifth despite brake woes with Ricardo Trivino falling to sixth following a troubled run through the second Monte Lerno pass.
Gianluca Linari is seventh despite a gearbox issue in the morning with Michal Kosciuszko and Benito Guerra eighth and ninth respectively. Two-wheel-drive contender Louise Cook completes the top 10 in her Ford Fiesta.
Kosciuszko and Guerra both restarted under Rally 2 rules, albeit with 10-minute time penalties, after they retired hitting the same piece of wood on Thursday’s second stage. Kosciuszko was fastest on the day-closing stage but his celebrations were cut short when Mauro Spagolla, in a Super 2000 Peugeot 207, slammed into the back of his Lancer on the road section heading to final service in Olbia. Kosciuszko’s Ralliart Italia entry sustained cosmetic damage to the rear, while Spagolla’s car suffered significant front-end damage.