Schilke, WRC correspondent
Sebastien Loeb aims for his seventh consecutive victory in Rally Argentina. The Frenchman clocked a time of 2:36.9 on the 4.59 km special Qualifying Stage test to earn his choice of starting position for this weekend’s FIA World Rally Championship event.
The French ace for the Citroen works team did not hesitate in his selection to start first on the road in the fifth round on the 2012 calendar. It was not an easy test today due to the slippery conditions but the good news is that while the temperatures are cool, the prediction of more rain is not until Saturday. Loeb and most of his rivals selected the Michelin soft tyre over the harder compound; which is the nominated option by Michelin for Rally Argentina.
“It’s slippery but it was not so bad. I had a good drive with no mistakes. I was pushing hard,” said Loeb.
Placing second fastest was Loeb’s teammate Mikko Hirvonen. The Finn will start second tonight for the first stage to open leg 1. After his run in his DS3, he said, “I was equal with Seb but then I made a small mistake and went wide on one corner.”
Subbing for the injured Jari-Matti Latvala, Dani Sordo was able to run two free practices prior to taking on the qualifying stage which allowed the team to make needed adjustments. The Spaniard was third fastest and he commented, “I’m quite happy now, we modified the suspension and it was not so bad.”
Petter Solberg set the fourth fastest time, and he selected the hard Michelin tyre on his Fiesta. Due to Sordo sitting in for Latvala, he selected fourth to allow Solberg to start third for the first day of competition. “I wanted to take care of the [soft] tyres for the rally if it’s raining. It was very slippery in there with a lot of mud and rain now. But it’s a long rally,” said the Norwegian.
Depending on the weather this weekend, the choices made today could have an effect on the final outcome on Sunday.