Friday PWRC wrap: Local hero Guerra in front

Mitsubishi driver Guerra leads Production race in Mexico

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By Franck Drui

10 March 2012 - 08:54
Friday PWRC wrap: Local hero Guerra (...)

Benito Guerra took the lead of the Production Car World Rally Championship on the first stage this morning and has remained out front in the category for the remainder of day one.

Much to the delight of the huge crowds on the stages, the Mexican enjoyed a relatively trouble-free day in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, opening up a half-minute lead on his home round of the PWRC. Guerra’s only drama was a brake problem for the first three stages.

“The team changed the pads and discs at service and we haven’t had any more problems at all,” said Guerra, who was pleased with his performance on Friday’s revamped route.

“I don’t know these roads,” said the leader, “we didn’t do them before. Tomorrow it’s better, we know them a little bit better.”

Michal Kosciuszko, who tops the PWRC title standings following his victory on Rallye Monte-Carlo in January, said his day had gone to plan.

“We have to think about the whole year not just one event,” said the Mitsubishi driver. “And we also have to look after the car, this is a long and hard rally for the Group N car.”

Kosciuszko admitted he was ready to push harder if he needed to - and the close attentions of Nicolas Fuchs and his slightly older Lancer Evolution IX might force more pace from the second-placed driver. Fuchs led the PWRC classification after the DC Shoes Street Stage Guanajuato last night, but he was frustrated by a lack of grip on the fifth test.

“The other guys can use four tyres in a loop,” he said, “but we are using six tyres to get through. The grip in stage five wasn’t good at all. But, we’re really close with Kosciuszko, so there’s going to be a good fight tomorrow.”

The remainder of the PWRC field had become more spaced out, with Gianluca Linari’s Subaru fourth and Rodrigo Salgado’s Mitsubishi fifth. Swede Ramona Karlsson retired from the opening day on stage eight.

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