The Subaru World Rally Team ended the opening leg of Rally Argentina with Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson firmly in the points-scoring positions. It was a disrupted day - one of the three aeroplanes scheduled to bring rally personnel back to ...
The Subaru World Rally Team ended the opening leg of Rally Argentina with Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson firmly in the points-scoring positions. It was a disrupted day - one of the three aeroplanes scheduled to bring rally personnel back to Cordoba after Thursday's River Plate Superspecial was delayed in Buenos Aires and Stewards had no option but to cancel seven of the day's eight tests to give personnel more time to return to Villa Carlos Paz, where the rally is based.
SSS1: 1835HRS RIVER PLATE STADIUM (2.40KM)
Leg one of Rally Argentina got underway on Thursday night with a 2.4km
Superspecial constructed inside Buenos Aires' River Plate football
stadium, 700km from the rally's host city of Cordoba. The logistical
challenge to transplant the rally to the capital for the night involved
nine coaches, eighty cars, 14 vehicle transporters, 500 people and three
aeroplanes. Under the stadium floodlights and in front of an estimated
25,000 spectators, crews tackled the twisty, smooth gravel stage in
pairs. Both Subaru drivers completed the test cleanly, with Chris
Atkinson winning his heat against Henning Solberg, and Petter Solberg
setting the same time as reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb.
Fastest time: Hirvonen (Ford) 2m 08.3s
SSS9: 1905hrs Estadio Cordoba 1 (2.40km)
The only stage to be run on Friday was the evening Superspecial at the
Cordoba football stadium. The test featured a near identical layout to
the Buenos Aires stage, but included a straight that was 100 metres
longer. Once again the stands were packed with thousands of spectators
and crews tackled the gravel circuit in a carnival atmosphere. Light rain
fell during the competition, which made the surface especially slippery,
but there were no upsets for the lead competitors. There was little to
separate the drivers over such a short distance but Atkinson was the
quickest Subaru driver, and set the fourth-fastest time, while Solberg
was just 0.3s back with the sixth-fastest time.
Fastest time: Hirvonen (Ford) 2m 31.7s
Subaru World Rally Team Managing Director, Richard Taylor: "It's been a strange opening leg, in that we've completed less then five kilometres of competitive rallying. We sympathise with the event organisers, because the disruption to the event has been caused by circumstances out of their control. It is particularly sad for the huge number of fans who went out onto the stages to cheer on the drivers. However, it seems that the plan to hold the Superspecial in Buenos Aires on Thursday evening was too ambitious. Still, we're looking forward to tomorrow's stages. Petter and Chris are keen to tackle the gravel stages and we're confident they can both challenge strongly throughout the rest of the rally."
The second leg includes five stages to the north of Villa Carlos Paz and then another four tests about 60km to the south, in Calamuchita. The distance includes 159.16 competitive kilometres.