YPF Rally Argentina reinvents
Organisers of YPF Rally Argentina claim to have 'reinvented a WRC classic' by making changes to this year's route - including reversing the direction of the iconic El Cóndor stage.
Argentina hosts the fifth round of the season from 26 to 29 April, and has introduced changes to both increase the challenge for competitors and bring new opportunities for spectators.
Based from its traditional home in Villa Carlos Paz, near Cordoba, this year's stages are focused on the soft gravel roads of the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita Valley and rocky, narrow tracks in the Traslasierra mountains.
The event will start on Thursday 26 April with a 1.9km street stage in the heart of Cordoba City.
On Friday, the action moves to the Calamuchita Valley for two passages over Las Bajadas – Villa del Dique (16.65km) Amboy – Yacanto (33.58km) which returns after a three-year absence, and Santa Rosa – San Agustín (23.85km).
At midday, on the way back to the Service Park in Villa Carlos Paz, competitors will tackle two laps of the head-to-head Super Special at Parque Tematico, totalling 6.4km.
Saturday will start with the brand-new Tanti – Mataderos test (13.92km), which features a winding, fast route on a smooth road. This will be followed by a shorter, 16.19km version of the Los Gigantes stage, which will finish in Cuchilla Nevada.
A revised Cuchilla Nevada – Río Pintos (41.49km) will complete the loop. Counting as the longest test of the rally, it will include sections of different stages from previous editions of the event. There will be a second visit to the Parque Tematico Super Special before a midday service and then a repeat of the morning loop.
The scene shifts to the Traslasierra on Sunday and a new version of the high-altitude classic El Cóndor (16.43km) [pictured above].
Compared to 2017, the stage will run in reverse, as a climb from the town of Copina. Organisers say this change offers greater safety control, provides a new sporting challenge and a different perspective for spectators. The stage will be run twice, the second time as the Live TV Power Stage after the classic Giulio Césare – Mina Clavero (22.41km).
In total the rally will feature 18 stages and a combined stage distance of 360.61km.
In testing: Hyundai
Mikkelsen, Sordo and Neuville pound the asphalt
In testing: Citroën
Meeke and Breen find rain instead of snow