As the second half of the 2005 World Rally Championship begins, the Å koda Motorsport World Rally Team will enter Armin Schwarz/Klaus Wicha and Jani Paasonen/Jani Vainikka for the ninth round Rally Argentina (July 14-17). Having missed last ...
As the second half of the 2005 World Rally Championship begins, the Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team will enter Armin Schwarz/Klaus Wicha and Jani Paasonen/Jani Vainikka for the ninth round Rally Argentina (July 14-17).
Having missed last year’s Rally Argentina, the 2005 event will be the first visit to the rally for the Škoda Fabia WRC 05. With testing banned on events outside Europe the team has very little data with which to work to find the perfect set-up for what is often a very tricky round of the championship.
After four hot Mediterranean events, the only South American rally of the season will offer quite a contrast. Rally Argentina actually takes place in winter but the high altitude of the stages means that the weather can be extremely variable as each day progresses.
Cold mornings often bring thick fog to the higher stages while temperatures can rise dramatically as mid-day approaches. The stages are fast in places but the sandy surface can hide rocks to trap unwary drivers while the altitude brings a significant loss of engine power.
Armin said: “Argentina is a very nice rally with a great atmosphere and a lot of very enthusiastic fans. Sometimes it is fast and sometimes just as rough as Acropolis. The roads are often quite damp and the event is famous for having watersplashes on nearly every stage.
Jani said: “Last year was my first visit to Argentina but I won Group N so I hope that I can also get a really good result this year on my first visit with a WRC car. Argentina is a really nice rally for me – I like it very much.”
Head of the Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team, Martin Muehlmeier, said: “As this will be the first time we have been to this rally with the Fabia we are at a bit of a disadvantage. However, our target remains the same and we hope to finally turn our recent bad luck into a good result.”
At the meeting of the FIA World Motorsport Council on Thursday June 29, the FIA issued the following statement: "At the request of Skoda Motorsport and Mitsubishi Motor Sports , exceptionally for 2006, the two manufacturers may benefit from a waiver to be absent from a maximum of three events in the World Rally Championship, two in Europe and one overseas.
They cannot both be absent from the same event." Skoda Motorsport Team Manager Joan Sureda said: "This is very good news and it is exactly what we and Mitsubishi proposed to the FIA."
Immediately following Rally Argentina it is planned that Alex Bengue/Caroline Escudero will enter the Eifel Rally in Germany (July 22-23). Alex has not driven the Fabia WRC 05 since Monte Carlo and so this event is proposed as an excercise to prepare him for Rallye Deutschland on August 26-28.
Rally Argentina in detail:
This year Rally Argentina is celebrating its 25th anniversary. After trying different start venues in its early years the event has settled on the Cordoba province and it based at the purpose built Pro Racing motorsport complex located between the city of Cordoba itself and the lakeside holiday resort of Villa Carlos Paz.
Action begins on Thursday night with two runs over the superspecial at Pro Racing. On Friday there are eight stages – including the longest of the event - centred around La Cumbre to the north of Carlos Paz completing a leg total of 162.34kms.
Saturday’s leg features a further seven stages (114.35kms). Sunday’s final leg is one of complete contrasts. Three ‘real’ stages include two of the championship’s classic tests, Giulio Cesare and El Condor, where the cars battle through lunar landscape scenery of massive rock formations.
The event then concludes with two more runs over the Pro Racing superspecial before the finish ramp at 1320 (1820 CET).