The 2002 edition of Rally Argentina had so many potential winners during its final 24 hours that many observers lost count of who actually won the rally. Tommi Makinen after the crash. Photo by WRC McKlein. Four-time World Champion ...
The 2002 edition of Rally Argentina had so many potential winners during its final 24 hours that many observers lost count of who actually won the rally.
Gronholm then cruised throgh the final stage to what seemed like a comfortable victory, only to have it taken away from him minutes after the finish for a rules violation: at the morning stop, Gronholm had had trouble starting his Peugeot 206, and had received some advice from one of the mechanics.
"What happened this morning was the car wouldn't start," Gronholm recalled. "I was trying everything. It kept on stopping on the road section. The protest is just Subaru bull."
So it was his teammate and 2001 Champion, Richard Burns, who celebrated a victory at the end of the rally, taking a big chunk out of Gronholm's Championship lead.
But that, too, was destined to be short-lived. In the post-rally technical inspection, Burns' 206 was found to have an underweight flywheel, meriting immediate disqualification. Peugeot chose not to appeal the disqualification.
The missing 20 grams of weight cost Burns his first win of the year, and instead handed the victory to veteran Spaniard, Carlos Sainz, driving a Ford Focus.
Sainz has 24 victories in the WRC, matching Makinen at the top, but had not won since Cyprus in 2000. In Argentina, Sainz had been running well back of the leading trio of Gronholm, Makinen and Burns, finishing some 2:19 back of Gronholm on the road.
In the final reckoning, then, Sainz took the victory from Petter Solberg in the second Subary, followed by Ford teammates Colin McRae and Markko Martin.
Skoda had its best result since it launched the Octavia WRC with Toni Gardemeister and Kenneth Eriksson taking fifth and sixth places.