Fuchs, a multiple Peruvian rally champion, has led throughout the day in his Mitsubishi Lancer and reached the overnight halt in Villa Carlos Paz leading Michal Kosciuszko, in a similar Mitsubishi Lancer, by a mere 5.9s.
“I tried to drive without mistakes and without risks but there have been a lot of rocks on the road so it has not been easy,” said Fuchs.
Apart from a brake issue on the road section heading to stage four, little has troubled PWRC title leader Kosciuszko. “I’ve made no mistakes, it’s been a clean run and I’ve been satisfied. It’s not been taxi driving, I have been pushing hard without big risks.”
Like his PWRC rivals, Benito Guerra has also adopted a risk-free strategy although there was a scare for the Mexican on stage five when a rock, thrown by a member of the public, left his Mitsubishi with a cracked windscreen.
Home hero Marcos Ligato was 2.8s behind Fuchs starting stage five but a reported broken steering wrack on his Subaru Impreza forced the Argentine driver’s retirement and gave Fuchs rare breathing space prior to Kosciuszko’s final-stage charge.
Ukrainian Valeriy Gorban is fourth for the Mentos Ascania Racing team with Suban Aksa, from Indonesia, a strong fifth on his first start in the PWRC since 2008. Gianluca Linari completes the top six after a broken shock absorber delayed him on Friday morning.
Several drivers failed to complete day one’s route with Lorenzo Bertelli, Oleksiy Kikireshko, Ricardo Trivino and wildcard entrant Ezequiel Campos all encountering problems.
Ramona Karlsson failed to start Friday’s opening test following her retirement on Thursday night’s superspecial stage when an oil leak caused irreparable damage to her Lancer.