Xion Rally Argentina


00:00:00 (UTC -3)

Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina

OpenLive Text

Fri 18:41 - In the meantime
Keep an eye on the news section for day reports on WRC and WRC 2 and all the latest from Argentina. And don't forget to check out WRC+ for our exclusive analysis tools and heaps of onboards. Until tomorrow, adiós!

Fri 18:28 - That’s Friday's stages done
And the end of our live text service for today. Join us on Saturday when XION Rally Argentina resumes. The first stage, the 23.10km Capilla del Monte - San Marcos, starts at 0828hrs. We'll be here to bring you all the news.

Fri 18:25 - WRC top 5 after day 2
(after SS6): Al-Kuwari's lead nears 2min. [+ times compared to leader] 1. Al-Kuwari (Ford Fiesta RRC): 1:51m34.1s, 2. Protasov (Ford Fiesta RRC): +1m57.0s 3. Dominguez (Ford Fiesta R5): +2m35.7s, 4. Ketomaa (Ford Fiesta R5): +5m19.8s, 5. Tempestini (Subaru Impreza): +5m30.8s

Fri 18:20 - WRC top 5 after day 2
(after SS6) Meeke heads a Citroen 1-2. [+ times compared to leader]: 1. Meeke (DS 3): 1:44m47.8s, 2. Ostberg (DS 3) +1m08.4s 3. Latvala (VW): +1m23.5s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +1m54.2s, 5. Evans (M-Sport Ford): +1m59.7s

Fri 18:02 - SS6: Latvala vs Meeke
Meeke wins the heat in 5m04.4s, while Latvala, with his transmission problem, loses 33.8sec to the stage winner, Sordo. Meeke, who now leads the rally by more than one minute, says: "The feeling in the car has been good. For me, tomorrow will be a tougher day than today. The long stage will be exceptionally difficult." Latvala, who drops to third, says: "Okay, I lost less time here that I expected."

Fri 17:54 - SS6: Sordo vs Ostberg
Sordo wins the heat and sets a new time to beat of 5m01.0s. "Happy now, this was much better than the morning when we lost so much time. We need to push hard. Ostberg is second fastest, 0.1sec behind. Mads has lost his voice so can't give a verdict on his day...

Fri 17:50 - SS6: Neuville vs Evans
The fastest pairing so far. Neuville scorches through in a new stage best of 5m02.9sec. Evans is 2.2sec slower. "It was okay, I understeered and hit something. The rear bumper is damaged but the car is okay."

Fri 17:49 - SS6: Ligato vs Prokop
Ligato's Chevrolet Agile is outclassed by the Fiesta RS of Prokop, who records a new fastest time of 5m07.5s. Prokop says: "The day went well, but the roads are so tricky we are just trying to drive - that's all."

Fri 17:35 - SS6: Lefebvre vs Saba
Saba wins the heat but looked a bit ragged - he clipped a wall with the rear of his Skoda, then lost half his front bumper in a water splash. Lefebvre was 5.3sec slower.

Fri 17:29 - SS6: Tempestini vs Dominguez
Dominguez wins, in a new fastest time of 5m09.8sec. Tempestini is 6.2sec slower.

Fri 17:24 - SS6: Al-Kuwari vs Fuchs
The heat goes Fuch's way by 4.8sec. His time of 5m11.3 is quickest so far. "In the morning I broke a steering arm and punctured two tyres," said Fuchs. "It's Impossible to fight for the win now." WRC 2 leader Al-Kuwari said: "A good day, but there are a lot of people behind pushing. Tomorrow I have to drive with my head."

Fri 17:17 - SS6: Al-Qassimi vs Ketomaa
Ketomaa wins the opening heat in his R5 Fiesta, despite Al-Qassimi's advantage of a more powerful DS 3 World Rally Car. Ketomaa's winning time is 5m13.7s. Al-Qassimi is 17.4sec slower. Ketomaa said: "Not really a good afternoon because we lost the brakes on the previous stage. It has been pretty painful but there's still a long way to go." Al Qassimi says he struggled to get his car to turn in.

Fri 17:01 - SS6 start order
Here's how the drivers will line-up at tonight's Super Special: 1708hrs: Al-Qassimi vs Ketomaa, 1714hrs: Al-Kuwari vs Fuchs, 1720hrs: Tempestini vs Dominguez, 1726hrs: Lefebvre vs Saba, 1732hrs: Ligato vs Prokop, 1738hrs: Neuville vs Evans, 1744hrs: Sordo vs Ostberg, 1750hrs: Latvala vs Meeke.

Fri 16:52 - WRC 2 top 5 after SS5:
Protasov fastest. [+ times compared to leader] 1. Al-Kuwari (Ford Fiesta RRC): 1:46m18.0s, 2. Protasov (Ford Fiesta RRC): +1m36.3s 3. Dominguez (Ford Fiesta R5): +2m42.0s, 4. Ketomaa (Ford Fiesta R5): +5m22.2s, 5. Tempestini (Subaru Impreza): +5m30.9s

Fri 16:47 - SS5: WRC 2 Protasov
He's the fastest WRC 2 competitor again - 11.6sec quicker through the stage than Al-Kuwari, who leads the category by 1m36.3s. "It's good. The stage was okay, much better than the first pass. We are pushing. Can we win? We will see - it will be hard work."

Fri 16:38 - Up next: SS6
Friday's final stage, the 6.04km Super Special in Villa Carlos Paz, starts at 1708hrs. You can watch this one LIVE on WRC+

Fri 16:32 - WRC top 5 after SS5
Meeke quickest. Latvala has a gearbox issue. [+ times compared to leader]: 1. Meeke (DS 3): 1:39m43.4s, 2. Latvala (VW) +53.1s 3. Ostberg (DS 3): +1m11.7s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +1m57.6s, 5. Evans (M-Sport Ford): +1m59.0s

Fri 16:26 - SS5: WRC 2 Ketomaa
The Finn sails straight through the flying finish, then comes back to get his time. "No brakes," he explains "I have no idea why. On the start line, suddenly there was no bite on the handbrake. So no brakes anywhere. For the whole stage. Luckily it was a fast stage. We will take a look now."

Fri 16:20 - SS5: Meeke
It's another fastest time and his lead is up to 53.1sec. Meeke however is refusing to discuss a possible first WRC victory. "I'm just blinkers on driving my own rally. Citroen have built a strong car. Anywhere in the top five here would be good to get my confidence back."

Fri 16:15 - SS5: Prokop
Slowest so far, 24.4sec off Ostberg's time. And for good reason: "We broke an anti-roll bar on the previous stage. We had to work hard to keep the car on the road. It is moving a lot."

Fri 16:13 - SS5: Sordo
Fourth quickest, 5.5sec slower than Ostberg. "Without the steering problem it was like driving the stage for the first time."

Fri 16:11 - SS5: Latvala in trouble!
10m28.3sec is the slowest time on the board. He lost 20sec in the final split. And it sounds serious. "We have a problem with the gearbox. It's not the selection, it's the drive from the front diff."

Fri 16:07 - SS5: Evans
The Welshman completes 0.1sec slower than Ostberg. "More slippery than I expected. Struggling for rear grip especially. That knocked my confidence a little." His Fiesta's rear tyres are badly worn.

Fri 16:06 - SS5: Ostberg
He is quicker than Neuville by 1.5sec. "It was okay, the stage was quite similar to this morning but looser than I expected. A good run, I'm happy with that."

Fri 16:04 - SS5: Neuville
First to complete, his time 10m13.8sec. "Good. Quite a good afternoon for us. We still have the intercom problem - we know what the problem is, but we won't have time to fix it until service tonight."

Fri 15:33 - Next stage: SS5
The repeated Villa Bustos - Tanti starts at 1551hrs. (That's four minutes later than scheduled). We'll resume our live text service then.

Fri 15:32 - WRC 2 top 5 after SS4
Al-Kuwari the new leader. [+ times compared to leader] 1. Al-Kuwari (Ford Fiesta RRC): 1:35m27.4s, 2. Protasov (Ford Fiesta RRC): +1m47.9s 3. Dominguez (Ford Fiesta R5): +2m44.1s, 4. Ketomaa (Ford Fiesta R5): +4m34.8s, 5. Tempestini (Subaru Impreza): +5m11.8s

Fri 15:27 - SS4: WRC 2 Protasov
He bags fastest WRC 2 stage time, beating Al-Kuwari by 23.3sec. In the overall standings his penalties for arriving late in service put him second, 1m47.9s behind leader Al-Kuwari.

Fri 14:58 - WRC top 5 after SS4
Meeke quickest. Tanak and Mikkelsen out. [+ times compared to leader]: 1. Meeke (DS 3): 1:29m39.5s, 2. Latvala (VW) +28.7s 3. Ostberg (DS 3): +1m03.3s, 4. Sordo (Hyundai): +1m43.7s, 5. Evans (M-Sport Ford): +1m50.5s

Fri 14:51 - SS4: WRC 2 Al-Kuwari
The Qatari leads the WRC 2 class after Protasov's problems on SS3. "All going to plan. But again I was in Ketomaa's dust for some time. It was very hard to see the corners properly."

Fri 14:50 - SS4: WRC 2 Ketomaa
"It was okay but the conditions are unbelievable. I haven't seen anything like that for a long time. Head-sized rocks. Lethal."

Fri 14:48 - SS4: Al Qassimi
"After a couple of kilometres the car was very hot inside but we couldn't open the cockpit fresh air vents. It was very uncomfortable. Also, our mixed tyre choice didn't work well."

Fri 14:44 - SS4: Meeke fastest!
He is quicker than Latvala by 13.4sec and extends his rally lead over Latvala to 28.4sec. "It wasn't the intention - I just wanted to be clean. The car is good and strong. The road was hellish rough but I was in a good rhythm and the car just danced through. I'm driving my own rally."

Fri 14:41 - SS4: Sordo
The Spaniard completes 14.3sec slower than Latvala. He is one of only two Michelin runners to favour the soft compound tyre. One of the softs, on the front left, is completely worn out.

Fri 14:35 - SS4: Latvala
Fastest so far in 38m25.9s. "A big challenge. A lot of bedrock and loose rocks about but I managed to avoid the worst of them. The brakes are getting very hot - especially at the end I was losing the friction."

Fri 14:33 - SS4: Evans
Trouble-free in a time of 38m52.0s. "Happier in the first half of the stage, but I didn't find my confidence in the second. We didn't get the chance to check our notes on the first pass."

Fri 14:32 - SS4: Ostberg
He is 12.7sec quicker than Neuville. No repeat of the engine problem that affected him in this stage earlier. "The car is working, it's just extremely rough. I was quite cautious but I need to be careful and stick to my pre-event plan. The feeling is not bad."

Fri 14:29 - SS4: Neuville
The Belgian is first to complete. His time is 38m52.3s. First time through he had to stop and change a tyre. How was the road this time? "Worse than this morning. Terrible. The car was jumping around. We had an intercom problem too."

Fri 14:03 - SS4: Tanak out!
His Fiesta RS is parked just 2km into the stage, its front-left wheel missing. He hit a rock in a water splash. That's all from Tanak for today.

Fri 13:56 - Protasov update:
The wheel repair held! He and co-driver Pavlo got their Fiesta back to service. They did incur 3min10sec of penalties for a late arrival but they are still in the game and off to SS4.

Fri 13:52 - Tyre choices:
News in from Michelin. Numbers and compounds (hard (H) or soft (S)) of the LTX Cross tyres cars left with for the afternoon loop: Citroen/Latvala/M-Sport: 4H&2S. Sordo/Neuville: 3S&2H Mikkelsen: 4H&1S.

Fri 13:49 - Paddon out too
He didn't leave service. No big surprise considering the catalogue of mechanical problems his car collected this morning.

Fri 13:48 - Mikkelsen out
The Norwegian left the midday service but has stopped with a mechanical problem en route to SS4.

Fri 13:46 - SS4: Stage delayed
By four minutes. New start time is 1348hrs.

Fri 12:57 - Next stage: SS4
The repeated Agua de Oro - Ascochinga starts at 1344hrs. We'll resume our live text service then.

Fri 12:38 - Ostberg's engine problem?
Matton: “It’s not clear at the moment what happened. Maybe there was some water in the systems. After that, the engine was in safe mode and Mads was not able to reset the system until the road section to SS3.”

Fri 12:36 - Citroen reaction
Team boss Yves Matton gives his verdict on the morning stages. “Okay, Kris is leading now but our target remains to have both cars in a good position at the end of the rally. And that hasn’t changed. I’m pretty sure Jari-Matti will be leading at the end of the next stage."

Fri 11:48 - Protasov update:
Thanks to some ratchet-strap ingenuity the wheel is on - just - and Protasov is driving back to service. Sadly, the wheel doesn't appear to be rolling, so this might be a short trip. Keep your fingers crossed.

Fri 11:38 - Up next: Service
Crews are en route to Villa Carlos Paz for a well-deserved 30-minute service. After that, they'll repeat the morning loop of stages.

Fri 11:34 - WRC 2 top 5 after SS3
Protasov leads but his car is missing a wheel. [+ times compared to leader] 1. Protasov (Ford Fiesta RRC): 53m43.6s, 2. Al-Kuwari (Ford Fiesta RRC): +58.8s 3. Dominguez (Ford Fiesta R5): +2m35.2s, 4. Tempestini (Subaru Impreza): +4m03.4s, 5. Ketomaa (Ford Fiesta R5): +4m06.6s

Fri 11:28 - WRC top 5 after SS3
Latvala quickest. Mechanical problems for Mikkelsen

Fri 11:20 - SS3: Protasov's back!
And he's brought with him the missing wheel, hub and drive-shaft. He and Cherepin are off to try and fit the bits back on the car.

Fri 11:16 - SS3: WRC 2 Protasov
His co-driver Pavlo Cherepin gives an update: "The wheel came off two corners before the end. We hit a rock. We will try and get back to service." Protasov is still in stage looking for the wheel. Without it on the car he will have to retire.

Fri 11:13 - SS3: WRC 2 Protasov
He is quickest of the WRC 2 drivers so far, 9.5sec up on Al-Kuwari - but he completes with the right-rear wheel and hub missing from his Fiesta. Protasov leaps immediately out of the car and runs back into the stage!

Fri 11:10 - SS3: WRC 2 Al-Kuwari
Quicker than Ketomaa by 1.8sec. "Okay, I was pushing hard where I could and taking it easy where I couldn't. Quicker than Ketomaa, that's good."

Fri 11:05 - SS3: WRC 2 Ketomaa
"Very good fun. The first section was like Finland but a bit more slippery - lots of power slides."

Fri 11:02 - SS3: Paddon
The Kiwi gets his damaged Hyundai through the stage 1m16s slower than Latvala. Like many drivers, he is looking forward to service. "We had to nurse the car through. It has no oil in the gearbox, no engine mounts, the exhaust is hanging off. There's lots to do."

Fri 10:59 - SS3: Meeke
"We have a right-rear puncture. I noticed it in the middle of the stage. I drove on, but had to take it really slow." Meeke holds the lead, but the gap to Latvala in second is down to 15.3sec.

Fri 10:57 - SS3: Tanak
"We're making pace note changes, checking everything is right so we can go a bit faster next time."

Fri 10:56 - SS3: Prokop
Lost his confidence in the slippery second half - had a spin near the end. Sixth fastest, 41sec off Latvala's pace.

Fri 10:53 - SS3: Sordo
The Spaniard suffering with no power steering. He completes more than 1min slower than Latvala and drops from second place to sixth. "Very bad. It's completely impossible to drive. I am very tired now."

Fri 10:49 - SS3: Latvala
Quickest so far. 10m10.0s. "It was okay. The tyres are worn on the front, so not the sharpest turn in, but alright. I liked the first section, it was flat-out like Finland"

Fri 10:48 - SS3: Evans
A decent run in 10m21.8s. "Okay, but we touched the front right wheel just before the finish."

Fri 10:47 - SS3: Ostberg
A better run this time. Fastest so far in 10m20.2s. No repeat of his earlier engine problem. He seems much calmer.

Fri 10:46 - SS3: Mikkelsen
He competes 2m58sec slower than Neuville with the top of the front right suspension damper poking through the bonnet. "The damper came through and I had to take it so slow. Thierry came through and couldn't see me - so he hit me." (Actually, Neuville admitted he had given him a deliberate nudge.)

Fri 10:43 - SS3: Neuville
First to complete. His time is 10m25.6s and his car is looking very second-hand after his earlier puncture. There's a new bump on the front too. "Andreas was in front of me driving very slowly so I had to give him a push. It's no fun at all. This is more like Dakar."

Fri 10:40 - SS3: Neuville passes
He has caught and driven around Mikkelsen's damaged Polo R.

Fri 10:38 - SS3: Mikkelsen in trouble
WRC TV crews report he is running slowly. Front right suspension damage evident.

Fri 10:34 - Ogier’s record attempt?
We reported earlier that this could be a landmark rally for Seb - for three big reasons - but his exit today makes that look very unlikely. If he does re-start on Saturday he will collect 7 minutes of penalty time for each of the five stages he missed today. Surely too much - even for Ogier.

Fri 10:04 - Stage notes: SS3
Villa Bustos / Tanti 1, 19.71km. Parts of this test were used in 2007, but much is new. It starts on a wide, good-surfaced, fast road with some big corners that demand bravery. It is only in the final 4km that it becomes twisty and rougher, with a couple of water splashes.

Fri 10:04 - Up next SS3
Crews are making the 70km journey to the start control in the town of Villa Bustos. Stage live at 1026hrs.

Fri 09:59 - WRC 2 top 5 after SS2
[+ times compared to leader] 1. Protasov (Ford Fiesta RRC): 42m56.0s, 2. Al-Kuwari (Ford Fiesta RRC): +49.3s 3. Dominguez (Ford Fiesta R5): +2m24.0s, 4. Tempestini (Subaru Impreza): +3m21.6s, 5. Arias (Ford Fiesta R5): +3m23.2s

Fri 09:53 - WRC top 5 after SS2
[ times compared to leader]: Meeke fastest, Ogier retires, many others in trouble! 1. Meeke (DS 3): 40m58.4s, 2. Sordo (Hyundai) 32.7s 3. Latvala (VW): 33.9s, 4. Ostberg (DS 3): 44.6s, 5. Paddon (Hyundai): 47.8s

Fri 09:42 - SS2: Ogier out
Confirmation received from Volkswagen that Ogier is done for the day. Statement reads: Ogier stopped in stage due to a technical problem. Retired for the day, car will be brought to service for analysis. Will rejoin under rally2 regulations.

Fri 09:39 - SS2: WRC 2 Protasov
Quickest WRC 2 driver so far - 42.1sec up on Al Kuwari through the stage. His lead in WRC 2 up to 49.3sec. "I'm feeling some problem with the rear of the car perhaps. Lots of dust."

Fri 09:36 - SS2: WRC 2 Al-Kuwari
"All okay, I was very cautious but I was caught in Ketomaa's dust for 10km."

Fri 09:35 - SS2: WRC 2 Ketomaa
"We had a puncture. I'm sorry to the team. We landed after a jump on a big stone. There are rocks everywhere. It's almost impossible to miss them."

Fri 09:33 - SS2: Al Qassimi
A cautious run from the Abu Dhabi driver. He completes 2m29s off Meeke's stage winning pace.

Fri 09:31 - SS2: Paddon
Fifth fastest in 39m11.4sec. That's a hell of an achievement when you hear what happened in stage: "After about 3km, all the engine mounts broke. After just 3km that's ridiculous. Then we lost a drive shaft, the gears don't work and now we have a hole in the turbo pipe so no power. Crazy."

Fri 09:29 - SS2: Meeke leads!
He is fastest so far in 38m26.2s. "After 100 metres I had no handbrake, so it was difficult in the hairpins. Instead I became Scandinavian and did the flick! In the last 10km I couldn’t see properly so I was taking it so carefully - I was idling into corners."

Fri 09:26 - SS2: Tanak
Cleanly through in 39m21.8s. "Really hard, a lot of dust in the narrow sections, I took it carefully."

Fri 09:25 - SS2: Prokop
A clean run through from the Czech driver. If he keeps this up he could beat his career best fourth place...

Fri 09:22 - SS2: Sordo
Faster than Latvala - in a time of 38m58.1s - but he's shaking his head. "The power steering has gone. It’s impossible, it's bad because I was feeling very good in the stage."

Fri 09:19 - SS2: Latvala
Fastest so far in 39min exactly. "No worries - we tried to be clever. I didn’t see Ogier - I have no idea what happened."

Fri 09:17 - Bertelli and Fuchs
Both stopped in stage.

Fri 09:17 - SS2: Evans
A clean run, but he's not happy about being caught in Neuville's dust. "When we saw the car in the distance we radioed the team to ask them to pull over... Let's just say it was a difficult stage for us. Frustrating." Evans’ co-driver Dan Barritt is having a few words with Neville’s co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul.

Fri 09:14 - SS2: Neuville
He completes with his car missing big sections of rear bodywork as a result of the puncture. "Over a crest we hit a big stone. We carried on until we had to stop and change it. There is lots of dust in the car."

Fri 09:11 - SS2: Ostberg
Our second car through - and another problematic experience. "I will try to be calm, but we have an engine problem like in Monte Carlo. The engine stopped in the stage. All the alarms went off in the car. Four rallies four problems. Not good."

Fri 09:09 - SS2: Mikkelsen
First to complete, with a front-right puncture: "The stage is a monster. We were having a good rhythm but then we spun in a right-hand corner, I may have misheard a note. I'm not sure that was the cause of the puncture but we hit the back of the car hard. I need to go and have a look." His time is 40m20.0s

Fri 09:01 - Neuville moving
He has rejoined in front of Evans. We're hearing a left-rear puncture

Fri 08:59 - Ogier stopped!
His Volkswagen is parked 45km from the stage start

Fri 08:59 - Problems for Mikkelsen!
Front right puncture

Fri 08:58 - Neuville stopped!
His Hyundai stationary at the 37km point

Fri 08:57 - Ogier in trouble?
WRC TV crews reports his engine is sounding rough.

Fri 08:48 - Wrong turn?
WRC TV crews report that Ogier, Neuville and Sordo drove the long way around a junction 8.8km from the start. The opposite of a short cut? We'll find out more when they reach the finish...

Fri 08:43 - Ostberg vs Ogier!
Split times a bit patchy on this stage so far, but one that jumps out is Ostberg 11sec quicker than Ogier at the 14.7km point.

Fri 08:39 - Tyre choices
News in from Michelin. Numbers and compounds (hard (H) or soft (S)) of the LTX Cross tyres cars left with for this morning’s loop: Evans & Tanak: 6S. All other Michelin WRC runners: 5S.

Fri 08:35 - Stage notes: SS2
Agua de Oro / Ascochinga 1, 51.99km. A well-known stage used in the opposite direction for the first time. The opening 21km are incredibly rough, twisty and littered with rocks before the road opens into faster sections. The stage mainly runs across vast open pampas, undulates frequently and contains several water splashes. A great stage but extremely tough.

Fri 08:31 - Start intervals
WRC and WRC2 registered cars will start at 2min intervals. The national competitors following will run with 1min gaps.

Fri 08:27 - Friday's running order
We're in championship standings order today. Here's how the World Rally Cars will tackle the tackle the stages: 1) Ogier, 2) Mikkelsen, 3) Neuville, 4) Ostberg, 5) Evans, 6) Latvala, 7) Sordo, 8) Prokop, 9) Tanak, 10) Meeke, 11) Paddon, 12) Al Qassimi, 13) Bertelli

Fri 08:22 - Weather update
Sunrise was 0742hrs. It looks like another beautiful day in prospect here. Clear blue skies. A fresh 17ºC in service now but that’s forecast to hit 27ºC this afternoon. No chance of rain.

Fri 08:22 - Time zone update
Argentina time is CEST-5hrs

Fri 08:22 - Cars update
Crews left Villa Carlos Paz from 0645hrs for the 79km drive to the start of SS2. Stage start is 0823hrs.

Fri 08:21 - Coming up on Friday
After Thursday’s Super Special, the rally proper begins today. In the morning crews with tackle the first endurance stage of the rally - the 51.99km Agua de Oro/Ascochinga - then the 20.31km Villa Bustos/Tanti. They will repeat both in the afternoon after a 30-minute service. The day rounds off with a 6.04km Super Special just outside Villa Carlos Paz.

Fri 08:21 - We’re ready to go
At nerve centre central, in the Villa Carlos Paz basketball mega arena, next to the rally service park.

Fri 08:20 - Buen Dia!
From Argentina and welcome back to our live text coverage of XION Rally Argentina, round four of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship.

Thu 20:06 - Set your watches
Friday’s opener, the epic 51km stage from Agua de Oro to Ascochinga, starts at 0823hrs local time (CET -5hrs). We’ll be here to bring you all the news as it happens. Ciao for now!

Thu 20:03 - That’s Thursday done
And the end of our live text service for today. Join us on Friday for the first full day of XION Rally Argentina, when the action switches to the rugged countryside north of Villa Carlos Paz.

Thu 19:59 - WRC 2 top 5 after SS1
[+ times compared to leader] 1. Protasov (Ford Fiesta RRC): 2m35.9s, 2. Dominquez (Ford Fiesta R5): +2.2s 3. Tempestini (Subaru Impreza): +5.2s, 4. Fuchs (Ford Fiesta R5): +5.5s, 5. Ketomaa (Ford Fiesta R5): +6.9s

Thu 19:51 - WRC top 5 after SS1
[ times compared to leader]: 1. Ogier (VW): 2m32.0s, =2. Meeke (DS 3): 0.2s, =2. Mikkelsen (VW): 0.2s, 4. Latvala (VW): 0.3s, 5. Sordo (Hyundai): 1.0s

Thu 19:48 - SS1: Lefebvre
The Frenchman slots his R5-spec DS 3 14th fastest. He is making his Rally Argentina debut this weekend, but is not registered in the WRC 2 competition. "I'm here for the experience. It's a good start."

Thu 19:44 - SS1: Ligato vs Villagra
The two experienced Argentinians are competing in the national class this weekend. Ligato wins the heat in his RC2 class Chevrolet Agile, with Villagra three seconds slower in an RC2 Ford Fiesta.

Thu 19:38 - SS1: Fuchs vs Baldoni
Fuchs wins the heat, bags second fastest in WRC 2 but reports a worrying problem. "That was a positive start, but I had a problem on the road section with the water pump. Now the engine temperature is high. I must go and take a look."

Thu 19:35 - SS1: Protasov vs Ketomaa
The Ukrainian, driving an RRC-spec Fiesta, goes 11th quickest and bags fastest time so far in WRC 2. Can he win the category here? "We will see, but now it's good!" Ketomaa gets his R5 spec Fiesta through 7sec slower but reports no problems.

Thu 19:30 - SS1: Bertelli vs Al-Kuwari
Bertelli, the last of the WRC crews, wins the heat and slots seventh quickest. After a difficult recce, during which he crashed twice, he's hoping for a smoother rally...

Thu 19:26 - SS1: Ogier vs Meeke
Goes Ogier's way - and he's fastest so far to take an early rally lead. His stage winning time is 2m32.0s: "It's the start of a long weekend with tough stages, we have a long way to go!" Meeke equals Mikkelsen's time (0.2sec adrift) to share second place overnight.

Thu 19:21 - SS1: Latvala vs Ostberg
Last year's Argentina winner Latvala wins the heat and slots second fastest, 0.1sec behind his team-mate Mikkelsen. "Not too bad, a bit slippery but generally it went well." Ostberg is fifth fastest, "Not so bad, a tricky stage but okay. Is it worth driving eight hours for? Don't ask me that..."

Thu 19:18 - SS1: Neuville vs Evans
Neuville wins the heat and slots third fastest so far, 0.1sec behind his team-mate Sordo. "A good start, a lot of people here but a lot of dust too - it's difficult to see the road." It's a steady start for Evans who completes 3.2sec slower. "It's tricky to pick your lines here," he says.

Thu 19:14 - SS1: Tanak vs Sordo
Sordo wins the heat in his Hyundai and slots second so far, 0.8sec slower than Mikkelsen. The Spaniard reports a lot of hanging dust.

Thu 19:09 - SS1: Mikkelsen vs Al Qassimi
Goes Mikkelsen's way. He's fastest so far in 2m32.2s. "It was a clean run for us, no big mistakes. Something to build on." Al Qassimi, making his season debut here, stopped the clock at 2m43.3s

Thu 19:05 - SS1: Paddon leads!
Two cars through and the Hyundai-powered Kiwi is quickest so far. His time to beat: 2m34.8s. Prokop completes 0.7sec slower.

Thu 19:02 - SS1: Tonight's first pairing
Is Paddon vs Prokop. There is a special start order tonight before the event switches to championship order on Friday. Next up is Mikkelsen vs Al Qassimi

Thu 18:56 - Tyre choices
News in from Michelin. Numbers and compounds (hard or soft) of the LTX Cross tyres cars left with for tonight’s stage: Ogier/Mikkelsen: 4S+1H. All other WRC Michelin runners: 5H

Thu 18:55 - Weather update
The sun is setting after a beautiful day here in Argentina. It’s still 21ºC in service with clear skies overhead.

Thu 18:55 - Stage notes: SS1
Merlo - San Luis, 2.68km. Merlo town centre is packed with fans for the opening action of the 2015 rally. Two cars at a time, starting 15sec apart, drive two laps of a 1.34km loop containing a jump, tight hairpins and fast straights. The stage is 75 per cent asphalt and 25 per gravel.

Thu 18:54 - A long way to go…
Crews left Villa Carlos Paz at 1345hrs for a long road section of over 230 kilometres south to the town of Merlo. The crews head back to Villa Carlos Paz at the end of the day. That’s 475.18km in total for just 2.68km of competition!

Thu 18:53 - Coming up tonight
Is the rally’s opening stage - a prelude to the main competition which will play out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The opening stage, a short head-to-head street test, kicks off at 1900hrs

Thu 18:53 - Time check
Here in Argentina the the time is 1852hrs - that’s CEST -5hrs.

Thu 18:52 - We’re all set
And ready to go at the live text desk, located this week in a basketball arena, a penalty throw away from the rally service park.

Thu 18:51 - Hola from Villa Carlos Paz!
And welcome to our live text coverage of XION Rally Argentina, round four of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship.

Tue 06:01 - Rally Argentina 2015
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# Kierowca Pilot Zespół/Samochód Kategoria Grupa, klasa Kontrola Powód Kary
9 NORA. MIKKELSEN NORO. FLOENE Volkswagen Motorsport II
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Ford Fiesta R5
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79 ARGA. D`AGOSTINI ARGG. BECARIA Augusto d`Agostini
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Citroën DS3
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Chevrolet Agile