The 27th Rally Argentina kicked-off tonight in Buenos Aires as the drivers of the World Rally Championship contested the first Super Special stage in River Plate Staidum surrounded by the thousands of spectators that attended the show. Mikko ...
The 27th Rally Argentina kicked-off tonight in Buenos Aires as the drivers of the World Rally Championship contested the first Super Special stage in River Plate Staidum surrounded by the thousands of spectators that attended the show.
Mikko Hirvonen was the man that took the opening stage of the event, the sixth round on the WRC calendar, that tomorrow will have see the completion of the first leg in Cordoba province, 700km from Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina.
The Finn, winner this season in Norway for his second WRC win in his works Ford Focus, set 2:08.3 to lead the field after the 2.40km stage. With each car having to lap the course three times through the curves, over the bumps, and in the air before a tremendous crowd and in a great atmosphere, the show was a guaranteed success and a great way to start Rally Argentina.
Second place of the night belong to Marcus Gronholm, who drove almost perfect to end just 0.6 seconds from his teammate after he won the head-to-head over three-time WRC champion and standings leader, Sebastien Loeb. The Frenchman ended fourth today at the wheel of his works Citroen C4, the most supported by the fans in River along with Gronholm.
"It's always really a big battle with Marcus (Gronholm)", said Loeb in the pre-event press conference prior to the battle that started off today and will continue as the event moves forward.
Loeb finished with a time of 2:09.8, just 0.7 seconds right behind his Spaniard teammate Dani Sordo, who came-up in third in a score of 02:09.1 in the second C4.
Petter Solberg, with the Subaru Impreza WRC 2007, ended-up tied with Loeb for fourth place with an identical time. His teammate Chris Atkinson came next in the other works Subaru with a 1.2 second adrift of the Norwegian. Solberg and co-driver Phil Mills have completed the first stage of their 100th WRC event in colours of the Subaru World Rally Team.
Top ten places were filled by Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson with two Ford Focus of the Stobart M-Sport team, with Manfred Stohl in ninth place for the OMV Kronos Citroen team. Argentinean representative Luis Perez Companc rounded out the top ten for the Munchi's team in another Focus.
The WRC circus is taking an overnight trip back to the Cordoba area where the real activity of the event will take place with the SS2 scheduled to start tomorrow morning for the 22.95km first pass of Capilla del Monte-San Marco at 10:45 local time.