The German Antony Warmbold and his British co-driver Michael Orr finished the Rally of Argentina, the ninth round of the World Championship, in twelfth place. "It was a rally with ups and downs," the Ford driver reported. "I was satisfied with my performance on some of the special stages, but not with the overall result."
Particularly on the first leg Warmbold with his Ford Focus RS WRC kept losing crucial seconds. "The suspension set-up, which we had expected a lot of in Thursday's shakedown test, was not working perfectly," he said. "As a result, the car's subjective handling was less than perfect, I was lacking self-confidence." Another loss of time on Friday was caused by a defective stabiliser and three tyre punctures. "Time lost at such an early stage cannot be made up on a rally weekend," Warmbold said, expressing his anger.
On the second leg of the South American dirt road classic, the Ford driver felt better. "We had changed to the set-up we used in the Cyprus Rally, and with this set-up our Focus was very good on the quick special stages." On the second day, the only loss of time was caused by the car sliding off the road towards the end of the leg. "It had rained, and the stages were extremely muddy and slippery," Warmbold said, "I slid off the road once."
On the final day, the German confirmed his twelfth place overall. "On the first special stage I wasn't satisfied with my performance. On the classic 'El Condor' stage I simply didn't find the right rhythm," he reported. On the following stage, things went better, but in the second heat on El Condor Antony Warmbold was not satisfied again: "El Condor is an incredibly difficult special stage."
For Antony Warmbold this marked the third of his stints in Argentina, and the most difficult one as well. "Conditions were extremely tricky," the German said, "Because on the first two days it had rained, and as a result the stages were extremely muddy. At times, the stretches were like a mix of mud and frozen dirt, and that's where grip conditions were constantly changing."
The next WRC competition will take Antony Warmbold and his co-driver Michael Orr back to Europe, to the Rally of Finland (5 to 7 August). For Warmbold, this will be the fourth stint after 2001, 2003 and 2004. After the German had finished in 50th place in his Finland debut and retired in the following two competitions, he is now hoping for a good result. "In Finland I want to attack," he says. "I finally want to experience a rally without any problems. And I want to show what's possible."