The multiple Peruvian champion, who is competing in a Symtech Racing Subaru Impreza for the first time, heads Subhan Aksa, from Indonesia, by more than three minutes starting day two, despite a fright on Friday’s final test.
“The engine temperature went up in stage eight and I was a bit worried but my engineers told me this was normal for the Subaru, which I did not realise because it’s my first time in the car,” said Fuchs. “Then on stage nine I went off the road because of the low sun and dust meant I couldn’t see. I had to reverse to get going again but I am here although I know tomorrow is another long day.”
While Fuchs celebrated a strong opening day, title leader Benito Guerra and category frontrunner Valeriy Gorban are among several drivers who have been left to reflect on what might have been following a tough day on the stages around the Gulf of Corinth.
Guerra was challenging for a third consecutive PWRC victory only to tear a wheel off his Mitsubishi Lancer on stage four. The Mexican’s exit left early pacesetter Gorban seemingly in the clear only for the Ukrainian’s bid for a maiden class triumph to suffer a cruel setback when a suspected broken wheel dropped him more than five minutes from the lead fight.
Only five PWRC runners recorded times on Friday’s final test, such was the tough nature of the competition in Greece. Lorenzo Bertelli stopped with broken suspension; Oleksii Kikireshko went off the road on stage six, while transmission failure forced Gianluca Linari’s retirement from the day.
Mexico’s Ricardo Trivino overcame suspension woes to complete day one in third place with Louise Cook fifth in her Ford Fiesta ST behind Gorban.
Marcos Ligato, from Argentina, will go no further after his team’s bid to cure an engine glitch proved unsuccessful.