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Rally Argentina - 19-21 Mar 10

Posted: March 19, 2010 4:18 PM - 5757 Hits

Round 3 - 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

Live Results: Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)|live.bfgoodrich.com|Rally Argentina
Rally Radio
Spectator Stage Friday - 5pm Local Time / 8pm Irish Time


Posted: March 19, 2010 6:20 AM

Peugeot UK's IRC Champions Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle are in Argentina, ready for the start of Round three of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge on Friday.

After their magnificent win in Brazil, Kris and Paul will start Friday night's opening Super Special stage as favourites in their Peugeot 207 S2000 but they are realistic about their chances. It's their first Rally Argentina, and they'll face tough competition not only from the regular IRC runners but also a number of very fast local drivers. Kris, though, is unfazed by the threat:
"I don't tend to think about it too much. All I can do is believe in my own ability, go out and do my maximum - my safe maximum - on the first 3 stages - safe side of flat out - see what happens, and take it from there."

Rally Argentina is one of the great rallies of the world: this year it consists of 15 stages covering 240.02 km. Fans travel from all over South America to watch the action.

After Friday's Super Special through the streets of Carlos Paz, about an hour's drive from Cordoba, Saturday has a total of seven stages and Sunday a further seven before the final Super Special stage which will see two drivers go head-to-head against the clock.

Kris and Paul will face tough competition in Brazil from local hero and eight times Argentinean Rally Champion Federico Villagra, and Nasser Al-Attiya who finished second in this year's Dakar Rally. Two other Peugeot 207 S2000s are also entered into the rally driven by Bruno Magalhaes and Daniel Oliveira.

Follow the day to day progress of Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke in this year's Rally Argentina via the team's Twitter link www.twitter.com/Peugeotrally video podcasts and web-based Rally Radio hosted on the Peugeot.co.uk web site and all main rally web sites and for, iPhone users, the Peugeot co-sponsored iRally App.


Posted: March 13, 2010 11:39 AM

Rally Argentina’s challenging gravel special stages are made famous by the unusually high number of river crossings that have to be negotiated, and Guy Wilks hopes to be walking on water when he attacks those watersplashes flat-out in his Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia S2000, in his quest for victory on Round 3 of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (19-21 March).

Guy and co-driver Phil Pugh have contested the event once before, winning the FIA Junior World Rally Championship category there in 2006. They remember the stages well, but the loose road surface in such a wet region can change in character so much over four years, that previous experience may not give them the advantage they might have otherwise enjoyed.

Based in the town of Villa Carlos Paz – a popular holiday destination for Argentineans, on the shores of San Roque Lake in the province of Córdoba, around 435 miles (700kms) northwest of Buenos Aires – Guy is aiming to do well on Rally Argentina and return from his epic South American adventure with as many points as possible, having already finished 2nd on his first appearance on Rally Brazil (4-6 March).

Since Rally Brazil, Guy and Phil and the rest of the Škoda UK Motorsport team have stayed in South America, training together in the 32°C heat of Rio de Janeiro before flying to Carlos Paz for a pre-event test and recce.

Rally Argentina sees a very high quality entry. Guy, who is currently second in the IRC drivers’ table, will be up against his regular IRC rivals Kris Meeke and Bruno Magalhăes and his Škoda Motorsport stable-mates Juho Hänninen (current leader of the IRC) and Jan Kopecký, plus Nasser Al-Attiyah (six-time Middle East Rally Champion and 2010 Dakar Rally winner from Qatar), who is also driving a privately-run Fabia S2000.

Rally Argentina will also count for the Argentine and South American Rally Championships and is part of the country’s Bicentenary celebrations. It has therefore attracted a very strong local entry, led by seven-time Argentine Rally Champion Federico Villagra, plus Marcos Ligato and Gabriel Pozzo.

In addition to scoring top points and helping Škoda maintain its lead in the IRC manufacturers’ standings, Guy would love to give the Škoda Fabia S2000 a rally win, so close to the brand unveiling the exciting Fabia vRS at the Geneva Motor Show. With an impressive 180bhp coming from its double-supercharged, four-cylinder 1.4 litre petrol engine, the road car is every bit as exciting to drive as the rally car.

Guy Wilks:
“I’ve competed Rally Argentina once before, but in rallying terms, 2006 is a long time ago. Whilst I can remember the stages quite well, the conditions might have changed a lot. We’re going to go to a stage that’s not being used this year but was in 2006, to check our pace notes and see exactly what the situation is.

“In any case, the Škoda Fabia S2000 we’ll be driving this year is an awful lot quicker than the J-WRC car we competed in before, so the speeds will be significantly higher, the jumps higher and the watersplashes more hazardous, so in preparing for the event we have to take all of this into consideration.

“We want to try to win Rally Argentina. It’s never easy to win a rally, and that will be the case in Argentina because there will be a lot of high-quality opposition. All our main IRC rivals are there and the local star drivers will be fast, but it’s certainly our aim to win.

“We had a two-rally game plan coming to South America, and part of it was to stay here between events to train in the heat. It’s a lot of work and a long time away from home, and to return to Britain with a first and a second place finish would be absolutely fantastic.

“We set ourselves very high standards and there is a lot Škoda UK Motorsport wants to achieve this year. Second in Brazil was a good result, but we really want to win one of these South American rounds, and doing that in Argentina would be very special.”

Rally Argentina will start on Friday 19 March at 17:00 with a spectacular 2.5 mile (4km) super-special stage on the streets of Villa Carlos Paz.

Leg 1 continues the following day, with six stages in the Calamuchita Valley region. Three stages in the morning are repeated in the afternoon, separated by service in Villa Carlos Paz, with the day’s competition totaling 85.45 miles (137.52kms).

Leg 2 takes place in the Punilla Valley on Sunday (21 March), with four stages in the morning and a repeat of two in the afternoon totaling 63.4 mile (102kms). The day includes the famous Ascochinga-La Cumbre stage which, at 14 miles (22.4kms), is the longest of the event.

There are 15 stages in total, equaling 150 miles (240kms). There are also 491 miles (790kms) of link road sections, which means very long days for Guy and Phil – starting at 06.00 and not finishing until well after dark each evening.

The rally will finish on Sunday afternoon with a repeat of the super-special stage in Villa Carlos Paz.

Eurosport and Eurosport 2 will broadcast recorded highlights from each day of the Rally Argentina, so please check TV listings for details.

TV Times

Posted: March 13, 2010 11:26 AM

Irish Time (GMT)

Friday 19 March 23:00-23:30: Day one highlights (Eurosport and Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Saturday 20 March
23:00-23:30: Day two highlights (Eurosport and Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Monday 22 March
05:30-06:00: Day two highlights repeated (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
07:30-08:00: Day two highlights repeated (Eurosport)

Tuesday 23 March
22:30-23:00: Magazine (Eurosport and Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

Rally Argentina preview

Posted: March 13, 2010 11:24 AM

The dust might have only just settled on a thrilling Rally Internacional de Curitba but the Intercontinental Rally Challenge regulars are already gearing up for the third round of the series in Argentina next week (19-21 March).

Based in the picturesque town of Carlos Paz, 2,200 kilometres south of Curitiba, Rally Argentina might be new to the IRC but it is one of the world's most established rallies and celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2010.

Famed for its demanding terrain, challenging water splashes and enthusiastic fans that turn out in their thousands to watch the action, Rally Argentina is set to be one of the highlights of the IRC season.

In a break with tradition, two asphalt stages will be included on the mainly gravel-based itinerary this year: the two runs over the Super Special Stage Carlos Paz, which uses closed public roads in the centre of the host town. The first run will take place on the evening of Friday 19 March with the second bringing the event to a close on the afternoon of Sunday 21 March.

The stage, which measures 3.30-kilometres in length, runs past several landmarks in Carlos Paz by the banks of the San Roque Lake and is linked together by two hairpin turns. Crews will tackle the stage in pairs, albeit starting at opposite ends of the course, which is set to create an exciting spectacle.

Following a 20-minute service halt at the permanent service park in Carlos Paz, Saturday's leg features seven stages in the Calamuchita valley, with Sunday's action taking in the gravel roads of the Punilla valley, where six stages will be run before the second Super Special Stage in Carlos Paz. The competitive route is just shy of 240 kilometres. There will be a total of six visits to the Carlos Paz service park.

Although they are flowing in nature, the stages in Argentina are renowned for being slightly slower but more technically demanding than those experienced in Curitiba. The surface is also sandier, which increases the risk of punctures because of a greater likelihood of rocks being pulled into the road by the competing cars. Because the road surface is softer, ruts can form following the first pass. However, the forecast is for dry, albeit cloudy weather in the build-up to the rally.

The sandy surface could lead to anomalies in the stage times with the traditional Group N machinery, such as the Subaru Impreza and Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer, likely to be more evenly matched with the Super 2000 cars (M-Sport's Ford Fiesta, Peugeot's 207 and Skoda's Fabia), which are set to challenge for overall victory.

Because the Super 2000 machines rely on normally aspirated power, they do not have the same levels of torque as the turbo-charged Group N machines and could be put at a disadvantage, particularly when exiting corners. It will require those in Super 2000 cars to adopt a smooth driving style in order to avoid excessive time loss.

Sixty-nine crews have entered Rally Argentina, the highest number to have registered for a round of the IRC so far this season. While the majority are based in Argentina, several have travelled from Brazil and Uruguay to contest the Codasur championship, which runs in tandem with the IRC and Argentine national championship on the event. The cars and equipment belonging to the IRC regulars who competed in Brazil were transported in convoy by road from Curitiba to Carlos Paz.  

  While Curitiba winner and defending IRC champion Kris Meeke had the edge over his rivals in Brazil due to his previous knowledge of the stages, the Peugeot UK driver's experience of the Argentine roads is limited to a recce he carried out in 2005 when he was contesting the Junior World Rally Championship. Although the Northern Irishman has some idea of the terrain he will face, he admits he will be starting from scratch when he begins his preparations for the event next week alongside Irish co-driver Paul Nagle.

Juho Hanninen's experience of the event was garnered from an outing in the Production Car World Rally Championship in 2007 when he finished third in the Group N-based category. The factory Skoda Motorsport driver, who moved into the lead of the IRC standings following a hard-fought third place finish in Curtiba after an early puncture, says he is a big fan of the rally.

Jan Kopecky, Hanninen's Skoda Motorsport team-mate, has never competed in Argentina before so will be looking to call upon the Finn's knowledge of the stages in an effort to improve upon the fourth-place finish he achieved in Brazil. Both drivers will be fighting fit when they reach Carlos Paz for the recce early next week after undertaking a week-long training session.

Guy Wilks, who will line-up in a Skoda UK Motorsport-run Fabia, has fond memories of competing in Argentina after topping the Junior world championship classification on the event in 2006. After finishing second in Curitiba earlier this month, the British driver has high hopes of adding to his impressive points' total. He prepared for Argentina with a short break in Brazil before embarking on a fitness training programme in Argentina.

Nasser Al-Attiyah has described Rally Argentina as his favourite rally in the world so it is fitting, therefore, that the Qatari has chosen to make his IRC debut on the gravel event at the wheel of a Rene Georges Rally Sport-run Fabia. While Al-Attiyah might be an unknown quantity as far as the IRC is concerned, he has a strong pedigree in Argentina. He was second on January's Dakar Rally, which started and finished in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, and won Group N on Rally Argentina last season.

Federico Villagra is one of Argentina's most successful rally drivers after winning his country's domestic title on eight occasions. The 40-year-old, nicknamed El Coyote, will give M-Sport's Ford Fiesta S2000 its latest outing in the IRC although his lack of time behind the wheel of the car could put him at a slight disadvantage during the opening stages. Rally Argentina is likely to mark Villagra's only outing in the IRC this season so he will be determined to put on a strong show.

Bruno Magalhaes starts Rally Argentina on the back of another IRC points haul in Brazil. Although he wasn't entirely satisfied with his performance in Curitiba, he used the closing stages of the rally to experiment with different set-ups on his Peugeot Portugal 207 S2000. The 29-year-old from Lisbon had not driven on gravel for nine months before competing in Brazil so will be better prepared in Argentina.

Stohl Racing's Daniel Oliveira is the last of the IRC regulars competing in Argentina and will start the Carlos Paz-based rally on a high after picking up his first points of the season in Brazil. The 24-year-old Peugeot 207 driver has only been competing for a year but has done the bulk of his rallies in Argentina so will have some useful experience to call upon.

Aside from the IRC regulars there will be a host of Argentine drivers capable of finishing in the top ten on the rally. Gabriel Pozzo is highly regarded and won the first round of the Argentine championship, Rally Mina Clavero, last month. He will team up with Claudio Menzi in the two-car Barettero Subaru team. Luciano Bernardi leads the Tango Rally Team's challenge in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X where he will be joined by Nicolas Madero, Alejandro Cancio and Marcos Ligato.

Brazilians Luciano Fleck and Rafael Tulio will be among the favourites for IRC 2WD Cup honours in their Peugeot 207s, as will Argentina's Pablo Palaez in a Honda Civic.  

  Juho Hanninen (Finland), Skoda Fabia S2000:
"I like this rally a lot but it won't be easy because the local Group N drivers will be very strong. We will be fit and ready but the sandy stages won't be so good for our car because we don't have the torque that the Group N turbos do. As a result, you need to be smooth with your driving style to keep up the speed otherwise you can lose a lot of time. There is always a fantastic atmosphere on this rally with all the fans so I can't wait and it will be interesting to see what Nasser Al-Attiyah can do in his Skoda. I think he can be very strong."

Kris Meeke (United Kingdom), Peugeot 207 S2000:
"I've a half idea of what to expect from the recce we did five years ago but it will be a clean sheet of paper approach when we get there. We'll have more opposition than we did in Brazil with Nasser Al-Attiyah and Federico Vilagra, who will both be strong because they are quick but also know the rally very well. The important thing is to get points. With the victory under our belts in Brazil we don't have to win in Argentina so there is less pressure on us this time."

Federico Villagra (Argentina), Ford Fiesta S2000:
"I've done Rally Argentina many times now, which should certainly help us but I've not driven the Fiesta yet, although I hear that it is very good. I'm planning a test in Argentina with the car before the rally, and I will know a little more then. I have to say though that I have driven the latest specification Group N car, with the 33mm restrictor, and I was really impressed. So I think the 'normal' Group N cars will be very competitive in Argentina as well."  


Strong entry assembles for Rally Argentina

Posted: March 11, 2010 3:37 PM

Sixty-nine crews have entered Rally Argentina next week, the highest number to do so on a round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge so far this season.

Based in the town of Carlos Paz, the gravel rally joins the IRC for the first time in 2010 and is set to provide a strong test for the competitors due to the demanding nature of the stages.

Aside from the regular IRC contenders, such as Juho Hanninen, Jan Kopecky, Bruno Magalhaes, Kris Meeke and Guy Wilks, Argentine Federico Villagra will make his series debut in a Ford Fiesta S2000, while Nasser Al-Attiyah will compete in the IRC for the first time a Skoda Fabia S2000 run by the Rene Georges Rally Sport team from Belgium.

Several local drivers will provide stiff opposition to the IRC regulars, including Marcos Ligato and Gabriel Pozzo, who both hail from Argentina.

The event, which covers a total competitive distance of 240.02 kilometres, gets underway with a superspecial stage through the streets of Carlos Paz on the evening of Friday 19 March.

Entries Received

Posted: March 4, 2010 4:03 PM


Posted: February 11, 2010 5:00 PM

Nasser Al-Attiyah will make his Intercontinental Rally Challenge debut on Rally Argentina next month, driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 for the Belgian Rene Georges Rally Sport team.

The highly-regarded Qatari, 39, is a hero in Argentina after he finished runner-up to Carlos Sainz on the Dakar Rally, which started and finished in the capital Buenos Aires last month.

He is also no stranger to the Villa Carlos Paz-based Rally Argentina, having won Group N on the event when it counted towards the World Rally Championship in 2009. He has experience of Super 2000 technology after winning the Qatar International Rally in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta last month.

Al-Attiyah, a six-time Middle East rally champion, will also contest other selected rounds of this year's IRC and his programme will be confirmed after Rally Argentina

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 1, 2010 12:01 AM

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