Cordoba-Villa Carlos Paz
Sebastien Ogier has set the fastest time in shakedown for Rally Argentina.
Driving a Citroen DS3 WRC, the 27-year-old from France completed the 6.23-kilometre stage in a time of 4m42.1s, eight-tenths of a second faster than the best run recorded by his team-mate, the seven-time world champion Sebastien Loeb.
“It was a difficult shakedown because early in the morning there was a lot of dust and it was difficult to have good visibility when the sun is coming,” said Ogier. “But the car was good and I have a good feeling. It’s a better start than in Sardinia already.”
Petter Solberg was third quickest in his privateer DS3 WRC, which needed a new front-right driveshaft after the original failed on his second run through the all-gravel test.
Fellow Norwegian Mads Ostberg was the leading Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver in fourth overall, one-tenth of a second quicker than factory Ford pilot Mikko Hirvonen. Ostberg has never competed in Argentina before but impressed in his M-Sport Stobart entry.
Home hero Federico Villagra ended up sixth fastest in his Munchi’s Fiesta but was concerned at how much tyre wear he’d experienced.
“I was really happy with shakedown but a little worried about the tyres,” said the Argentine. “We did only four runs, which was 28 kilometres but the front tyres were in a really bad condition. I don’t know how it will be for the second pass on the stages when the rally starts.”
Matthew Wilson and Peter van Merksteijn Jr were seventh and eighth fastest respectively with Jari-Matti Latvala ninth after managing one competitive run due to a transmission-related failure on his factory Fiesta.
“The first run felt really good and the car was behaving really well,” said the Finn. “The grip seems to be really good too although the tyre wear was a concern and we know it will be warm on the rally. It’s frustrating to have this problem but it’s better to happen on the shakedown than on the rally.”
Following repairs by the Ford team, a spokesperson said: “Jari-Matti suffered a transmission-related problem, a one-off specific problem to his car. We’ve changed the parts and everything is fine now.”
Patrik Flodin was fastest of the Production Car World Rally Championship drivers in 12th overall behind the Monster Fiesta of Ken Block and Daniel Oliveira in his Brazil World Rally Team MINI John Cooper Works WRC.