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Argentina - 27-30 Apr 17

Posted: April 29, 2017 7:09 PM - 2534 Hits

Round 5 - 2017 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Argentina 2017) Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: Rally Radio on WRC.COM
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally Argentina

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
Shakedown - Thu - 12:00
SS1 Thu - 23:08
SS2 Fri - 12:38
SS10 Sat - 12:04
SS16 Sun - 13:13

Four from four in exciting new-era World Rally Championship

Posted: April 28, 2017 4:01 AM

Dynamic new-look rally cars have provided the most gripping and unpredictable opening to the FIA World Rally Championship for more than 30 years.

The introduction of more powerful and aggressive World Rally Cars for 2017 has been rewarded with four thrilling opening encounters which have provided drama and excitement aplenty.

Four different drivers representing four manufacturers and four nationalities claimed the winner’s laurels in those opening four fixtures.

It was 1986 when the WRC enjoyed a similarly unpredictable start to a season and sets up one of the most open title fights for many years.

The four winners gathered in Villa Carlos Paz on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the landmark ahead of YPF Rally Argentina, round five of 13, which starts in the resort town on Thursday evening.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the new cars, developed to upgraded regulations from a blank sheet of paper, had made a huge impact in a short space of time.

“We knew these cars would be exciting. Their macho appearance and increased performance are bringing smiles to fans’ faces, whether they’re watching stage side or on television,” he said.

“Pre-season there was a great feeling of unpredictability because nobody knew which teams, cars or drivers would set the pace.

“What we have witnessed so far has been exceptional with drama seemingly awaiting around every turn. The only thing I can advise fans for the rest of the season is to expect the unexpected!” he added.

Here is the story of the 2017 WRC heading into YPF Rally Argentina:

Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 - 22 January)
World champion Sébastien Ogier began the defence of his crown with a fourth consecutive Monte-Carlo success in a Ford Fiesta WRC. It was a dream debut for the Frenchman who signed for M-Sport World Rally Team just five weeks previously. M-Sport celebrated its first win since September 2012 after rallylong leader Thierry Neuville’s dreams were shattered when he crashed late in the penultimate day.

Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February)
Jari-Matti Latvala won his fourth Swedish crown to provide Toyota Gazoo Racing with victory on only its second rally back in the WRC after a 17-year absence. It was an emotional win for the Finn, driving a Yaris WRC, who faced a season on the sidelines before joining the Japanese manufacturer in a late deal. There was more heartbreak for Neuville who crashed out of the lead for the second consecutive round.

Rally Guanajuato Mexico (9 - 12 March)
Kris Meeke ended a miserable start to his season with victory – despite almost throwing it away when he crashed into a spectator car park 750 metres from the finish. His Citroën C3 plunged through a hedge, leaving the disoriented Briton driving around parked vehicles as he urgently searched for a way back onto the road. He eventually regained the track and limped to the finish with a puncture. Meeke’s near-40sec lead was slashed to just 13.8sec but his Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse (6 - 9 April)
Thierry Neuville finally stood on the top step of the podium to end his victory curse after mastering Corsica’s mountain asphalt roads. The Belgian brought relief to his Hyundai Motorsport squad with a 54.7sec winning margin in a Hyundai i20 Coupe. He snatched the initiative after Meeke retired from the lead with a mechanical gremlin in his engine.

In 1986, Henri Toivonen won the season-opener in Monte Carlo for Lancia before Juha Kankkunen claimed victory in Sweden for Peugeot. Joaquim Moutinho won in Portugal in a Renault 5 Turbo and then Björn Waldegård won Kenya’s Safari Rally for Toyota.

Crews braced for toughest test in Argentina

Posted: April 28, 2017 3:56 AM

With four rounds of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship complete, drivers and teams have travelled to the other side of the world where they will lock horns at the toughest event on the calendar: YPF Rally Argentina.

The South American event, held from April 27-30, is notoriously demanding and represents the toughest test yet for 2017’s new-look World Rally Cars.

It's the first time the cars will unleash their full power on gravel, seven weeks after a horsepower-sapping debut on Mexico's high altitude stages.

Based from Villa Carlos Paz, in central Argentina’s Córdoba province, the loose-surface event is one of the championship’s most exciting and diverse fixtures.

Its stages vary in character from the high-speed soft and sandy roads of the Punilla valley south of the town to rock strewn narrow stages high in the Traslasierra mountains to the west.

Softer stages are prone to becoming heavily rutted, and the jagged rocks and stones that appear can puncture tyres and batter mechanical components.

Drivers also have to be wary of the deep river crossings that litter the route and can spectacularly choke engines if approached too quickly.

"It’s not like my favourite high-speed events where you can use the entire road and slide from one side to the other. Here, there is always something to hit," M-Sport driver Ott Tänak explained.

"Rocks can get dragged onto the stage and you need to keep your eyes open – you have to keep that margin and know which risks are worth taking and which ones aren’t."

Hyundai Motorsport driver Thierry Neuville, the rally winner last time out in Corsica, said:
"Argentina is probably the roughest rally of the season. It’s a rally where you need to take extra care."

Team-mate Dani Sordo added: "The roads are really rough. It's an incredibly demanding rally for both car and crew, so we know that we will have to be at our absolute best to secure a good result."

Picking the correct car set up and tyre choice for terrain that changes so dramatically between stages is one of the biggest challenges. Another factor is the weather.

As winter approaches in the southern hemisphere, almost anything is possible. Snow flurries interrupted the pre-event recce, and while temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius are forecast for the weekend, fog is also possible.

YPF Rally Argentina gets underway on Thursday evening. It features 18 special stages, totalling 357.59 competitive kilometres and a total distance of 1417.98km.

FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS FOR CITROEN BUT NOT FOR CRAIG BREEN

Posted: April 28, 2017 3:54 AM

One of the highlights of the WRC season, Rally Argentina is eagerly anticipated by the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT. Ten-time winners in South America, the Red Army is determined to defend its fantastic record with its Citroen C3 WRCs, driven by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin. Rally Argentina has a truly unique atmosphere, an event worth experiencing for any true motorsport fan. The 2017 rally promises to be no exception to the rule, with a demanding route for both men and machines alike. After a gentle start on Thursday evening in the streets of Cordoba, the serious business gets underway on Friday with stages held around Santa Rosa de Calamuchita. The second leg will be even rougher, with two passes on the well-named "Los Gigantes" stage, some 38km in length. Lastly, the crews that make it this far will get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Mina Clavero and El Condor on Sunday's final sprint.

Citroen has won Rally Argentina as a WRC event ten times in the last twelve years! This amazing run says a lot about the expertise of the team, who will have the daunting privilege of defending this record. As in Monte-Carlo, Sweden and Mexico, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT will only enter two C3 WRCs. They will be driven by two crews that did not compete here in 2016: Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin, who will be making their competitive debuts in South America. This lack of experience will be a genuine disadvantage, since thirteen of the eighteen stages are identical to last year. The only new features are on Tanti – Villa Bustos, contested in the opposite direction, and San Agustin / Villa General Belgrano, which hasn't been on the itinerary since 2008. Another particularly unpredictable factor is the weather. Anything is possible at this time of year: cold, dry conditions or springlike temperatures, torrential rain, fog, etc. Depending on the conditions, the running order and tyre choice will be more or less significant.

After three top-five finishes in as many appearances this season, Craig and Scott will need to get their bearings on this new surface before trying to get close to the leading crews. If they manage to keep out of trouble, they are almost certain to finish high up the standings. The history of Rally Argentina suggests that endurance and consistency are often rewarded!

Before departing for the event Craig said,
"I can't wait to compete in my very first rally outside Europe! Argentina looks like a fantastic country, with some magnificent stages. I know I'm going to have a lot to learn and I'm aware that it could be a tough weekend for me. It'll be my first event on gravel in the C3 WRC and it's a quite a few years now since I last took part in a rally which was completely new to me. I'll be making the most of every kilometre to build up my experience, without thinking about the final outcome. I'll be able to use the work done during this week's test in Portugal"
To keep up to date visit www.craigbreen.com or www.citroenracing.com

M-SPORT FULLY FOCUSED AHEAD OF RALLY ARGENTINA

Posted: April 28, 2017 3:22 AM

The FIA World Rally Championship makes a return to gravel at next week's Rally Argentina, and M-Sport are fully focused on securing another strong result.

As the only manufacturer to have secured a podium finish on each round of the championship thus far, the team are determined to keep their untarnished record intact and have been working around the clock to ensure the best possible result.

Since returning from the Tour de Corse, the workshop has been a hive of activity – with just four days to transform the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs into their gravel trim. If that weren't enough, the test team were also hard at work over the Easter break – conducting a comprehensive research and development test in the Arganil region of Portugal.

Focused on making the most of Rally Argentina, the team have their sights firmly fixed on another podium challenge.

RALLY ARGENTINA VAST VARIATION OF CHALLENGING TERRAIN

Based in the lakeside resort of Carlos Villa Paz, Rally Argentina provides one of the most demanding routes of the year with a vast variation of challenging terrain.

From the sandy roads and river crossings of the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita Valley, to the rocky tracks of the Traslasierra mountains, the South American fixture has it all – including a spectator-friendly Super Special to start the action in downtown Cordoba on Thursday evening.

The landscapes' contrasting characteristics demand quick thinking from the crews and an ability to adapt their driving styles as they venture from pampas plains to rugged mountains and moonlike vistas.

The early autumn weather in the southern hemisphere can also bring a risk of fog and those with the most confidence in their pacenotes can often reap the rewards.

MALCOLM WILSON THE TEAM PRINCIPAL

Whether it be rally, rallycross or race, M-Sport has secured a podium finish at every event so far this year, and Malcolm Wilson is keen to see that trend continue at next week's Rally Argentina.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"We've racked up a fairly impressive record so far this year. I'm extremely proud to think that we are the only manufacturer to have secured a podium finish at every event so far this season, and we certainly want to see that continue.

"The Tour de Corse wasn't the easiest of events for the team, but we dug deep and secured a strong result all the same. Since then, work has been on-going and I must thank all of the M-Sport staff who worked through their Easter holidays to ensure we are as prepared as possible for Rally Argentina.

"This is an event that Sebastien and Julien have never won. Understandably, they want to put that right this year and it's up to us to give them the best possible means of doing that. Ott hasn't had the best of luck in Argentina, but I don't think he'll let that stand in his way and the return to gravel should see his confidence back to full force. Elfyn too will be looking forward to a return to the loose stuff, and he's always performed well in Argentina.

"We have all of the ingredients to secure another strong result next week – we just have to pull it all together and leave no stone unturned in our preparation."

OGIER AND INGRASSIA THE CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERS

Believe it or not, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are yet to taste the winners' champagne at Rally Argentina. Having contested the event on seven previous occasions, the four-time World Champions have been on the podium four times and finished as the runners' up three times.

Keen to add an Argentinian victory to their impressive resume, the French pairing will be hoping to battle for the win next week.

Previous starts: 7
Best result: 2nd (2016, 2014 and 2013)

Sebastien Ogier said:
"Rally Argentina is the only event that Julien and I have not yet won and, every year, we go there with the ambition of securing victory for the first time. That has not changed this year. We want to win, but it won't be easy.

"We'll be opening the road through on the first day which brings its own challenges, and then there are the stages themselves. The surface is unlike anything we have visited so far this year. It's gravel, but it's a completely different type of gravel to what we experienced in Mexico.

"In Argentina, the roads are much softer and sandier but also quite rough in places. That means that challenging for the win is always going to be a compromise between speed and endurance.

"I had two days of development testing in Portugal last week and everything is moving in the right direction, so we'll be hoping for another strong result next week."

TANAK AND JARVEOJA FOURTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP

As the FIA World Rally Championship returns to gravel, Ott Tanak will be looking to get his championship campaign back on track by challenging for a top result at Rally Argentina.

A top-five result has thus far eluded the Estonian at the South American fixture – and co-driver Martin Jarveoja will be contesting the event for the first time – but the determined duo aren't ones to let previous statistics stand in their way.

Previous starts: 4
Best result: 10th (2012)

Ott Tanak said:

"It feels good to be heading back to gravel, but we start with a big challenge at Rally Argentina.

"It's not like my favourite high-speed events where you can use the entire road and slide from one side to the other. Here, there is always something to hit. Rocks can often get dragged onto the stage and you need to keep your eyes open – you have to keep that margin and know which risks are worth taking and which ones aren't.

"In the past I've not had the best of luck in Argentina, but I feel as though we've done a lot to improve ourselves and it would be nice to put that right this year.

"We had a good test last week – working to improve the handling of the car and to get an even better feeling behind the wheel. I'm looking forward to next week and I think we have a fair chance of a strong result, so let's see what we can do."

EVANS AND BARRITT NINTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Rally Argentina holds special memories for Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt – playing host to their maiden FIA World Rally Championship podium in 2015.

Known for his mechanical sympathy, Evans has historically excelled through the rough gravel stages and will be looking for a strong haul of points as the season returns to gravel.

Previous starts: 3
Best result: 3rd (2015)

Elfyn Evans said:
"We've got some special memories from Rally Argentina, and we're looking forward to getting back on the loose stuff. We've not had the best of luck so far this season, but hopefully that'll change when we get back behind the wheel next week.

"It's an event that I've always enjoyed, but you have to take a fairly measured approach. Each day is really different in terms of character, but there is always very little margin for error with something to catch you out around practically every corner. You have to have a clean rally for the majority and keep mistakes to a minimum.

"That said, it is definitely a real highlight on the calendar. The fans are phenomenal – some camping out on El Condor days before the action begins. There's a real passion for motorsport in Argentina and it's always special to compete here."

ELSEWHERE

IN THE SERVICE PARK

Elsewhere in the service park, a further two Ford Fiesta WRCs will be in action as both Mads Ostberg and Lorenzo Bertelli make a welcome return to the service park. Both drivers have contested just one event so far this season, and will be keen to make their mark in Argentina.

In the WRC 2 category, Pedro Heller is back behind the wheel of his M-Sport prepared, Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta R5. The Chilean made his debut at Rally Mexico last month and Rally Argentina marks the second of five planned events this year.

Entry List

Posted: April 10, 2017 10:40 AM

Rally Guide / Website / Details

Posted: December 26, 2016 4:24 AM






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