Thursday around midnight Belgian time starts in Villa Carlos Paz, the Rally Argentina, the fifth of a total of thirteen rallies in the world championship. The world cup 2018 is governed by five-fold world champion Sébastien Ogier (Ford Fiesta). The Frenchman won three of the four driven rallies, and has in the standings seventeen points lead on the first pursuer Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupe).
Last year won Neuville in the Rally of Argentina after a memorable denouement. With only the powerstage to drive had Neuville a gap of 0.6 to Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta WRC). The Brit was on the way faster than the Belgian, but got to the end of a small bridge, and was ultimately 0.3 to slow to rally to win.
The Rally of Corsica ended three weeks back on a big disappointment for Neuville and his team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo. Hyundai is in Argentina with a motorupgrade. “I keep very good memories of last year,” says Neuville. “I hope that we will see this weekend, a similar result can be obtained. The Rally of Argentina is demanding for both the rider and the car. We are not allowed to light.”
The Rally of Argentina is the first of a total of four unpaved road rallies in the world CHAMPIONSHIP riders in the coming months for the wheels get pushed. The next few days will be Ogier, a lot of attention. The Frenchman won so far, five world championship titles and 43 rallies, but never did he rally from Argentina to win. “We are fantastic at the season started and of course we want to continue that trend,” says Ogier. “To become world champion is regularly important. Sometimes you have to be smart. The Argentine trials are particularly demanding. When you are faster on some tests, there is a risk that you get too many asks of your car and you risk a problem. I’m not fixated on the victory, but I would like to take the highest spot.”
The last time that a Ford in the Rally of Argentina managed to win was in 2002. When won Carlos Sainz after Marcus Grönholm was disqualified. For the last victory of a Toyota is going back to 1994. Then it was Frenchman Didier Auriol at the party. Toyota is working on a fickle season. The speed is there, because of the 70 driven klassementsritten won the Toyota-riders 23. But the constant missing. In Argentina, hopes to team boss Tommi Mäkinen, who is the Rally of Argentina three times in a row won, already do better.
Rally Argentina begins on Thursday with a superspecial. Friday, there are seven stages ridden, Saturday also seven and Sunday three. The Rally of Argentina ends Sunday evening about 18u20 Belgian time.