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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Rnd 4 - Rally Argentina April 23-26


First run in 1980 in Tucuman province in the north, when it was known as Rally Codasur.
The 1982 edition was cancelled due to the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.
Moved to Bariloche, in the south, in 1983 but found its home in Cordoba in 1984.
Argentines are passionate soccer fans and in 2007 a stage was held at the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires while Cordoba stadium, home to Talleres, has twice hosted stages and the finish.

What’s new for 2015

Thursday night's curtain-raiser in Villa de Merlo, 235km from Carlos Paz in San Luis province, has never been held before.
Two stages north of Carlos Paz will feature roads not used since 2007.
The fast stages in the Calamuchita valley have been dropped from the itinerary.

Official Website: rallyargentina.com/

Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio

WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights plus.wrc.com/


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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ogier and Meeke tied in Argentina shakedown

Sebastien Ogier and Kris Meeke were tied at the top of the timesheets following Wednesday evening's shakedown at Xion Rally Argentina.

The duo set matching times in their first two passes through the 4.59km stage from Villa Garcia to Cabalango. Ogier went faster on his third and final run in his Volkswagen Polo R, only for Meeke to equal it on his fourth attempt in Citroen's DS 3.

"I enjoyed the break but six weeks was very long so I'm happy to be back in the Polo," said Ogier. "We had only one test day on gravel during the six weeks, so it was important to have shakedown to get back in the rhythm again."

Meeke admitted the six-week break since the previous round in Mexico had helped him.

"The start of the season hasn't been perfect. The speed has been OK but I haven't been able to be consistent and made a few mistakes. It was nice to have time to clear the head and come back reset. Like Seb, I’ve had just one day on gravel between the two rallies so shakedown was good to get the feeling back," he said.

Andreas Mikkelsen was 1.2sec behind in third in his Polo R, just a tenth of a second ahead of Mads Ostberg’s DS 3 in fourth. Jari-Matti Latvala's Polo R and Thierry Neuville's Hyundai i20 completed the top six.

Hayden Paddon went off the road and hit a fence during his third run after a bolt broke in his i20's front left steering arm. He repaired the car in the stage before returning to the Villa Carlos Paz service park.



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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thursday Evening SS1: Ogier sets early pace in Argentina

Sebastien Ogier was the early leader of XION Rally Argentina after winning Thursday nigh''s curtain-raising super special stage in Merlo.

Huge crowds packed the town centre as the rally visited there for the first time and they watched Ogier's Volkswagen Polo R outpace team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen and Citroen's Kris Meeke by two-tenths of a second.

"It's going to be a long weekend with some very tough stages but that’s the same for everyone," said the Frenchman.

Jari-Matti Latvala was just a tenth further back in fourth with Hyundai team-mates Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville completing the top six in their i20 World Rally Cars. Just 1.1sec split the sextet.

Conditions were slippery in the mixed surface test with hanging dust adding an extra challenge for drivers.

None of the top competitors had any issues, but WRC 2 front-runner Nicolas Fuchs suffered water pump problems in his Ford Fiesta R5 on the liaison section to the stage and reported high engine temperatures following the test.

Drivers had a marathon 233km link section back to the rally base in Villa Carlos Paz for the overnight halt. They restart at 06.30 tomorrow for two identical loops of two stages before a super special near the town, a total of 149.44km of competition.

click: wrc.com/argentina-ss1/


SS2: Meeke leads after dramatic opener

Kris Meeke was the surprise leader of XION Rally Argentina after Friday morning's gruelling opening stage which caused carnage among the frontrunners.

He was fastest in Citroen's DS 3 by 31.9sec from Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20, with Jari-Matti Latvala completing the top three a further 1.9sec behind in a Volkswagen Polo R.

The stage lived up to forecasts that it would be a car-breaker and the biggest name to suffer was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who parked his Polo R after 45km with suspected engine problems.

Neither Meeke nor Sordo escaped unscathed. Meeke drove the entire test with a broken handbrake while Sordo lost time towards the finish when his power steering broke.

"It was difficult in the hairpins and in the last 10km I couldn’t see for the dust. I took it carefully and was idling into corners," said Meeke.

Mads Ostberg was fourth, 43.0sec off the lead, despite stopping mid-stage with an engine issue. "Four rallies, four problems. Not good," said the dejected Norwegian.

read more: wrc.com/argentina-ss2/


SS3: Latvala slashes Meeke's lead

Jari-Matti Latvala climbed into second and cut Kris Meeke's lead in half during Friday morning’s second stage at XION Rally Argentina.

Meeke's 31.9sec advantage was cut to 15.3sec by the Finn after the Northern Irishman drove two-thirds of the test from Villa Bustos to Tanti with a rear right puncture on Citroen's DS 3.

"I had a good run for the opening 5-6km but then punctured and had to drive slowly for the final 15km," said Meeke, who was fifth fastest.

Latvala enjoyed a great drive and the Volkswagen Polo R pilot was fastest by 10.2sec from a happier Mads Ostberg, now in third and 20.9sec behind the Finn.

Dani Sordo drove the entire test with no power steering on his Hyundai i20 after his opening stage issues. He lost a minute and plunged from second to sixth.

Also in trouble was Andreas Mikkelsen who finished with the front right damper protruding through his Polo R’s bonnet. He dropped three minutes and was caught by Thierry Neuville, who gave the rear of Mikkelsen’s car a nudge before overtaking.

"He was driving slowly and I had to give him a push to let him know I was there. Clearly it was a bit hard," said Neuville, as he surveyed the damaged front of his i20.

M-Sport duo Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans were fourth and fifth overall in Ford Fiesta RS cars, despite Evans touching a rock with his front right wheel near the finish. They were separated by 10.5sec.

click: wrc.com/argentina-ss3/


SS4: Tanak loses wheel

Estonia's Ott Tanak was the latest frontrunner to strike trouble at XION Rally Argentina when he retired after ripping the front left wheel from his Ford Fiesta RS.

Tanak, who was fourth, entered a water splash in third gear just 2km into the horrendously rough 51.99km stage and hit a rock. He retired instantly but should return tomorrow under Rally 2 rules.

Kris Meeke was fastest by 13.4sec from Jari-Matti Latvala to extend his lead over the Finn to 28.7sec, the Northern Irishman insisting he drove within himself in Citro?n’s DS 3.

"Fastest time wasn't the intention, I just wanted to be clean. The road was hellish rough but I had a good rhythm and the car danced through. I'm closed off from the lead battle. I’m driving at 95 per cent and it’s where I need to be all the time," he said.

Latvala lost his Volkswagen Polo R’s rear bumper and admitted his brakes were losing their bite towards the finish. "A lot of bedrock and loose rocks. I managed to stay away from them but there were a couple of big impacts at the back," he said.

Third fastest kept Mads Ostberg third overall while Tanak's demise promoted Dani Sordo to fourth.

Andreas Mikkelsen endured a tough start in his Volkswagen Polo R and finally retired on the link section to the stage. Also out is Hayden Paddon, whose Hyundai i20 took a fearful battering this morning. The Kiwi didn’t leave the mid-leg service.

click: wrc.com/argentina-ss4/


SS5: Transmission trouble for Latvala

Second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala’s hopes of challenging Kris Meeke for the lead at XION Rally Argentina suffered a setback when the Finn encountered transmission problems in the penultimate stage of a gruelling day.

He started the test 28.7sec behind Meeke and the pair were tied at the final split point, but Latvala conceded almost 25sec in the last section. He heads into the final 6.04km super special stage in Villa Carlos Paz 53.1sec adrift.

"We have a problem with the drive from the front differential," said the dejected Volkswagen Polo R driver at the finish.

Meeke was quickest in his DS 3 by 8.4sec from Mads Ostberg, who has now closed the gap on Latvala in the overall standings to 18.6sec. Third fastest for Elfyn Evans in a Ford Fiesta RS narrowed the margin to fourth-placed Dani Sordo to just 1.4sec.

Martin Prokop drove the test with a broken anti-roll bar in his Fiesta RS, damage inflicted in the previous stage. "We had to work to keep the car on the road. It is moving a lot," said the Czech driver.

click: wrc.com/argentina-ss5/



Kris Meeke held a commanding lead at XION Rally Argentina on Friday night after a day of carnage in the rock-strewn plains near Cordoba.

The Citroen driver led by 68.4sec in a DS 3 from team-mate Mads Ostberg as the rough gravel tracks sidelined a host of frontrunners, including FIA World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier.

Jari-Matti Latvala was Meeke's closest challenger for much of this opening leg until he struck trouble late in the day and ended 15.1sec behind Ostberg.

Meeke, second after last night's curtain-raising stage, moved ahead on this morning's incredibly rocky opening test and was never headed, despite dropping 15sec with a puncture on the following test. He won three of the five stages.

"Sometimes things just click in a rally car and today was one of those days. Some sections were probably the roughest I've experienced. When the stages are as rough as this you must select a pace that feels good, but my target remains simply to have a clean run," he said.

Latvala remained within 30sec of Meeke until a damaged gearbox casing slowed his Volkswagen Polo R in the penultimate stage. With only two-wheel drive, he dropped almost a minute in the last two tests to drop behind Ostberg.

Read more: wrc.com/argentina-day-1/


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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Saturday-SS7: Meeke spins in Saturday opener

XION Rally Argentina leader Kris Meeke received an unwanted wake-up call on Saturday morning’s opening stage when he spun in thick dust in the opening kilometres.

Meeke dropped almost 15sec to closest challenger and Citro?n DS 3 team-mate Mads Ostberg and the gap between the duo fell from 68.4sec to 53.5sec.

"It was very, very dusty. I got mixed up with the braking and spun onto the grass. I had to reverse back onto the road. Hopefully the wind will clear the dust as the day goes on," said Meeke.

Jari-Matti Latvala was third fastest in his Volkswagen Polo R and admitted poor visibility prompted him to drive cautiously.

"I had to be very careful in places, I couldn’t push to the maximum. I tried to keep a good rhythm but at one point there was a massive rock which I had to drive round," said the Finn.

Volkswagen team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen were first and second, while sixth for Dani Sordo left him frustrated but nevertheless enabled him to extend his advantage over Elfyn Evans by almost 10sec in their fight for fourth.

Yurii Protasov, 10th last night and second in WRC 2, plunged down the order after receiving a 15-minute penalty for driving 1.42km on a public road with three wheels on his Ford Fiesta RRC. It preceded his heroic efforts to replace the rear wheel, damper and driveshaft after the unit flew off his car near the end of SS3 yesterday.

Due to the dust, organisers have increased the gap between competitors from two to three minutes for SS8.

click: wrc.com/argentina-ss7/


SS8: Sordo piles on the pressure

Dani Sordo moved within touching distance of relegating Jari-Matti Latvala from third at XION Rally Argentina as the Finn counted himself lucky to escape unscathed from the first pass through Saturday’s longest stage.

Spaniard Sordo was second through the 42.50km test from San Marcos to Characato in his Hyundai i20. Only an overshoot cost him the opportunity to demote a shaken Latvala, who survived an impact with a bank.

"I lost time at a slow left hairpin," admitted Sordo. "There was a crest before the corner and I didn't see it very well. I braked a little bit late and overshot the bend. That's disappointing but I’m happy with everything else."

He was 22.7sec faster than Latvala, who was only ninth quickest in his Volkswagen Polo R, to return to service in Villa Carlos Paz having reduced the gap to 14.1sec.

"I hit a bank and went off onto the grass," admitted Latvala. "I was very lucky not to hit a rock and after that I lost my rhythm."

Leader Kris Meeke (below) conceded almost 21sec to Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg and the Northern Irishman’s advantage was cut to 32.6sec. Ostberg, however, is feeling increasingly ill and admitted he tired in the second part of the stage.

"I was a bit cautious. For me, this is the most difficult stage of the rally and it was important to get through it cleanly. It’s lined with rocks and we’re using new notes too," said Meeke.

Elfyn Evans remained fifth in a Ford Fiesta RS with Martin Prokop, Thierry Neuville and Khalid Al Qassimi filling the next three places, although Neuville is now only 11.8sec behind the Czech driver. WRC 2 drivers Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and Diego Dominguez complete the leaderboard.

click: wrc.com/argentina-ss8/


SS9: Cancelled !

SS9: Stage stopped
Organisers have halted the stage after the fifth car (Tanak). Neuville is held at the start line. Paddon and his co-driver John Kennard are okay.

SS9: Cancelled
Organisers confirm that SS9 will not run. Crews have been instructed to drive to the start of SS10, which is scheduled to start at 1637hrs.



Britain's Kris Meeke moved closer to his maiden WRC victory after protecting his lead through Saturday’s second leg of XION Rally Argentina.

Despite an opening stage spin, Meeke will carry a 38.6sec advantage over Citroen team-mate Mads ?stberg into tomorrow’s final day, with just two tests covering 32km in wait.

Jari-Matti Latvala was third after holding off a determined Dani Sordo over rough gravel roads north of Villa Carlos Paz. Sordo eventually retired in this evening’s final special stage with water in the spark plugs of his Hyundai i20.

Meeke's overnight 68.4sec lead was reduced when he spun his DS 3 in thick dust. Although Ostberg shaved the gap to little more than 30sec, Meeke regained time in the final test despite stopping briefly after a water splash.

"A sensor alarm went off and I panicked," admitted Meeke. "I didn't know what to do so I switched the engine off and on again. Hopefully I will be OK tomorrow, I think it will be like a Sunday drive for me."

A sick Ostberg admitted he tired in the second half of stages but the Norwegian enjoyed a clear run to finish 25.1sec clear of Latvala. The Finn was lucky to escape when his Volkswagen Polo R hit a bank and went off the road this morning.

Read more: wrc.com/argentina-saturday

Sebastien Ogier, Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Martin Prokop have each been fined 1,000 Euros for straying off route at XION Rally Argentina.
click: wrc.com/argentina-fines/

A landmark win for Meeke?
Should Meeke take victory, he'll become the first Brit to win a round of the WRC since Colin McRae on the 2002 Safari Rally Kenya.


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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)

Jari-Matti Latvala retired from third place in Sunday’s opening special stage of XION Rally Argentina with engine problems in his Volkswagen Polo R.

He stopped for about 25 minutes on the liaison section from the Villa Carlos Paz service park to the start of the famous El Condor test after issues with the fuel supply to one of the engine cylinders.

He started the stage two minutes late and drove at reduced speed through the early part of the test before the car stopped after 12km and again 600 metres later. His retirement was confirmed shortly afterwards.

Leader Kris Meeke was seventh fastest in Citroen's DS 3 but the Northern Irishman, closing on his maiden WRC win, wasn’t in the mood for talking at the finish.

Team-mate Mads Ostberg was 11.6sec faster than Meeke and the gap between the duo at the head of the leaderboard stood at 27.0sec as they headed back up the mountain for the second pass through the stage.

Latvala's retirement promoted Elfyn Evans into third in his Ford Fiesta RS, the Welshman on the verge of his maiden WRC podium.

Andreas Mikkelsen was quickest in a Polo R by 5.7sec from Dani Sordo's Hyundai i20, with championship leader Sebastien Ogier third in another Polo R.

click: wrc.com/argentina-ss11


Power Stage SS12:

Kris Meeke claimed his first WRC victory on Sunday when he headed a Citroen 1-2 finish at XION Rally Argentina.

The Northern Irishman led home team-mate Mads Ostberg by 18.1sec after leading the gruelling four-day rough road event for all but the opening couple of kilometres. Both were driving DS 3 cars.

Elfyn Evans scored his first podium after finishing third in a Ford Fiesta RS despite broken rear suspension in the final stage. The Welshman was 3min 09.3sec behind Ostberg.

World championship leader Sebastien Ogier, who finished down the order after fuel supply problems, won the final live TV Power Stage to claim three bonus points in a Volkswagen Polo R. Dani Sordo took two in a Hyundai i20, with Ostberg claiming the final point.

click: wrc.com/breaking-news

Emotional Meeke wins in Argentina

Kris Meeke scored his maiden WRC victory at XION Rally Argentina today to become the first British driver to win a world rally since 2002.

The Northern Irishman headed Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg by 18.1sec as the French manufacturer claimed its first 1-2 finish for almost three years. Elfyn Evans completed a great day for Britain by taking his first WRC podium.

The late Colin McRae was the last British winner at Kenya's Safari Rally and mentored 35-year-old Meeke through the early part of his career.

"The one guy who did most for me isn't here to see this. This is for Colin. He helped my career out at the very beginning. He supported me financially through to the world championship. Without his support I wouldn’t be here," said an emotional Meeke.

He led the four-day gravel rally for all but a handful of kilometres in his DS 3, ending a torrid start to the season in which he crashed in the first three rounds.

He ended the first leg with more than a minute’s lead and measured his pace over incredibly rocky conditions which sidelined many frontrunners to finally reach the top step of the podium on his 58th start.

Ostberg fought a fever and an early engine problem to secure his second consecutive runners-up spot. He climbed to second in the championship standings behind Sebastien Ogier, who finished a lowly 17th after fuel injection issues.

Evans survived final stage suspension problems in his Ford Fiesta RS to finish 3min 27.4sec behind Meeke, conceding a minute as he nursed the car through the test. It was a fitting farewell for the current Fiesta RS, which will be replaced by a new evolution at the next round.

Czech driver Martin Prokop matched a career-best fourth in another Fiesta RS while Dani Sordo recovered from the electrical problem which stopped him last night to overhaul Khalid Al Qassimi for sixth in the final stage.

WRC 2 winner Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, Diego Dominguez, Gustavo Saba and Federico Villagra completed the leaderboard.

There were just two stages in today’s final leg, but the famous roads of El Condor provided a sting in the tail to a gruelling weekend.

click: wrc.com/argentina-day-3/


Next Rnd5 WRC Portugal May21-24


First held in 1967 and one of the founding events in the inaugural 1973 WRC.
Initially a mixed surface rally, it switched to a pure gravel format but lost its place in the calendar after bad weather ruined the 2001 event.
Organisers moved from the north to the Algarve holiday region in the south and it regained its place in 2007.
Named ‘Best Rally in the World’ on five occasions.

What's new for 2015

Everything! These stages have not been used in the WRC since 2001.
The classic Fafe stage – one of the all-time great WRC tests.

Official Website: rallydeportugal.pt

Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio

WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights plus.wrc.com/


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Thanks, Weasel 555. I watched the final El Condor Superspecial live on WRC+. Maybe just because the commentators were British and nearly overcome by the emotion of Kris Meeke, but that was the best one yet. The finish line interview with the winner was very emotional, especially the dedication to Colin McRae. Riveting stuff. I read somewhere that Meeke is only the fifth British driver to ever win a WRC round after Paddy Hopkirk, Roger Clark, Colin McRae and Richard Burns.
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