A shortened version of the first leg was enough to start a new edition of Rally del Guairá despite the rain. Before dawn, members of the Centro Paraguayo de Volantes drove the stages to check which of them would be safe to be run and which not to include in today’s itinerary.
By mid-morning, it was clear that the Melgarejo-Tacuarita (11.48 km originally scheduled for tomorrow) and Félix Pérez Cardozo-Carovení (9.68 km) were the right choices, so they would be held twice each.
Pouring raing and mud were two main factors in the afternoon. The first three special stages showed as many winners on top of the results. Gustavo Saba and Fernando Mussano started ahead of the rest in the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. That was a road in which some UTVs really impressed everyone with their pace; so much that the Can-Am driven by Bruno Llano appeared fourth overall.
In SS2, it was time for Alejandro Galanti and Leonardo Suaya to win in the Toyota Etios and take the lead by just 0.61s over Saba and 2.5s over the Hyundai i20 of Diego Domínguez and Edgardo Galindo.
Domínguez replied with a fastest time in the third test and clilmbed to second overall, always by slim margins, now 1.52s behind the Polo.
Recovering from the dramas suffered in Rally TransItapúa, Gustavo Saba won in an unstable day, his Volkswagen finishing 5.93s ahead of Diego Domínguez and 8.25s ahead of Galanti. That small gap makes the fans believe that it could be a tough fight tomorrow.
Miguel Zaldívar (here co-driven by Diego Cagnotti) showed he is quickly adapting to the Polo in the RC2 Pro división. He was fourth, leaving the Škoda Fabia of Luis Maldonado Jr. in fifth and top RC2 entrant.
Among the top competitors, Luis Ortega (Škoda) finished sixth, Víctor Galeano seventh (best Ford Fiesta user), Jorge García (Škoda) eighth, Juan Martín Masi (Ford) ninth and Miguel Ángel García (Ford) tenth.
César Matínez Jr. and Marco Méndez (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X) were quickest in RC2N Pro, the category in which Rally Dakar female driver Andrea Lafarja is making her debut in third position.
In other classes, the event is being led by Fernando Servín-Juan Cabrera (Lancer Evolution VIII RC2), Sebastián Lafarja-Eugenio Arrieta (Honda Civic Type R RC3 Pro), Ricardo Fretes-Juan José Sánchez (Honda Civic Type R RC3), Fabrizio Zaldívar-Víctor Aguilera (Ford Fiesta R2 RC4 Pro), Amílkar Servín-Christian Ramos (Civic Si RC4), Arnaldo Duarte-Richard Arévalos (Toyota Vitz RC4L), Fernando Abente-Faizal Fahs (Chevrolet Corsa RC5).
UTV leaders are Rodrigo Pires (Yamaha YXZ UA-A), Bruno Llano (Can-Am X3 UT-A) and Thiago Llano (Can-Am X3 UT-S).
Tomorrow’s plan, as a consequence of the persistent showers, would be identical to what was decided in this opening leg.