Burns leads Peugeot attack in Argentina. Peugeot driver Richard Burns lies third at the end of the opening leg of the Rally Argentina - one of three 206 WRCs in the top six. The World Championship leader ended up just 17 seconds ...
Burns leads Peugeot attack in Argentina.
Peugeot driver Richard Burns lies third at the end of the opening leg of the Rally Argentina - one of three 206 WRCs in the top six.
The World Championship leader ended up just 17 seconds behind second-placed Markko Martin, and is determined to try and reel in the Ford driver tomorrow. Peugeot's Harri Rovanpera is fourth, ahead of team mate Marcus Gronholm in sixth.
Today's opening leg of the Rally Argentina was dry but incredibly rough. A technical problem also caused confusion over the official stage timing, which was not cleared up until the end of the day.
Richard faced the unenviable task of running first on the road, but kept his head to finish the first day in a solid podium position. The Englishman was frustrated by the inaccurate stage timing, and also battled a handling problem during today's middle loop of stages. But he was happy with his car in the afternoon and is looking forward to another strong performance tomorrow.
"The problems with the stage timing were very annoying, as we didn't really know where we were in the morning," said Richard. "We also had very little grip at the front of the car, but some adjustments made it better in the afternoon. It's not been an easy day at all but I'm pleased to get to the end in a good position to attack on leg two."
Harri enjoyed a strong run on the afternoon stages to consolidate his fourth place after a difficult start to the rally. On this morning's opening four stages he suffered tyre problems, but he drove quickly and reliably during the rest of the day to be sure of getting his car to the finish.
"It's been a pretty good day," said Harri. "We had a couple of problems with tyres in the morning, and I also stalled on one stage start.
But then it got a lot better, although the conditions were very rough and rocky. The car has been perfect all day, but I have not been pushing too hard. The roads are very tricky and it is easy to make a mistake."
Reigning World Champion Marcus Gronholm was leading the rally convincingly until stage nine, when he slid wide on a corner and ripped off a rear wheel against a rock. The swift work of the Peugeot mechanics enabled him to leave the service area without further penalties and Marcus set some fast times in order to move back into the top six by the end of the day.
"It was my mistake," said Marcus. "We just went a bit too wide, but I'm lucky that our mechanics were good enough to fix everything quickly at service. The car still feels good and I've got a lot of confidence with it. I'm sure we can push hard again tomorrow and make up some more time."
Leg two of the Rally Argentina gets underway at 0655 tomorrow. The crews face nine more demanding special stages before returning to Parc Ferme in Villa Carlos Paz at 2022.