Brier, whose last European Tour victory came nearly four years ago when successful in the Volvo China Open, had played so poorly in recent times that he had been forced to return to the Tour School late last year. Even then he managed to only just regain his Tour card and the joy for him in taking the halfway lead was there for all to see.
Fichardt, who won this event in 2003, mixed eight birdies with four bogeys but two late birdies got him within one of Brier who had finished his round just a few minutes earlier. In two starts this year, Fichardt had yet to make a cut so this too is a turnaround for the South African.
Just one shot further back are the defending champion Robert Karlsson, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and England's Richard Finch who eagled the 16th and birdied the 17th to recover from a poor finish to yesterday's opening round and a slow start to round two.
Lee Westwood birdied his final hole but it was all too late and the world number one has missed the cut for the first time in twelve months.
Westwood's nearest challenger in the world ranking race, Martin Kaymer, only just crept inside the cut and so any chance he had of significantly narrowing Westwood's lead appears limited.
New Zealander Mark Brown was the only Australasian to make the cut in the event, his final nine of 32 allowing him to not only make the cut but to move to 22nd position.
Danny Lee, Andrew Dodt and Brett Rumford all missed by one with Scott Strange and Michael Campbell a long way further back.