Argentina debrief: part 1

In the opening part of our YPF Rally Argentina review, we examine whose weekend was a stellar success and who had a shocker.

Drive of the Rally
No prizes for guessing this. Ott Tänak’s domination last weekend was total. Having seemingly thrown away his victory chances with a half-spin in Friday morning’s opening speed test, the Estonian charged back like a raging bull.

By that evening he was so much in control he could afford to throttle back on Saturday. Even so, he put together 10 fastest times from 12 stages in his Toyota Yaris.

We’ve all grown used to close competition with the new-era World Rally Cars – think 12 months ago when Thierry Neuville edged Elfyn Evans here by 0.7sec. Not this rally. As one driver succinctly put it, Ott was on ‘another planet’.

Quote of the Rally
We’ve missed not having Craig Breen around for the last couple of rounds to provide us with our top one-liners. He was back in Argentina – on the stages and with his comments.

Having rolled in Saturday afternoon’s Cuchilla Nevada stage, the Irishman explained: “We tried to push on a bit, after a jump I got crossed up, I had to steer to avoid a ditch but it spat me out. The roll cage looks fine, I obviously didn't try hard enough!”

Sadly, it wasn’t fine. There were several kinks and he was out.

A new apprentice inspects the suspension of Hyundai's i20

One to Forget
After setting fastest time in Thursday morning’s shakedown Jari-Matti Latvala was bubbling with confidence.

By 09.30 on Friday his mood was one of depression. The Finn hit a rock in SS3, damaged the front suspension and pulled an oil pipe out of his Yaris’ engine. Weekend over – and sad to see.

Stage of the Rally
It’s pretty high on the Los Gigantes mountain. And a cloudy Saturday morning guaranteed the weather wouldn’t be too pleasant in the 40km stage from Cuchilla Nevada to Rio Pintos.

The fog was thick for the opening 10km and the brave showed up. Elfyn Evans was quickest at the third split after 11km from Breen and Tänak. Breen crashed soon after, normal order was resumed as Tänak went quickest and championship leader Sébastien Ogier conceded almost a minute - spelling an end to his podium hopes.

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