New stages, unpredictable weather, and a change to the iconic El Condor stage are set to add up to a classic edition of the YPF Rally Argentina (26-29 April).
Based in 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 the rocky, narrow trails in the Traslasierra mountains in addition to the Punilla Valley.
The biggest change for WRC fans is to the high-altitude El Condor stage. Run in reverse, crews will tackle the stage going uphill as the Live TV Power Stage on Sunday afternoon.
Before then, there’s a fresh look to Thursday night with a new 1.9km Super Special in the heart of Villa Carlos Paz. The street stage features gravel and asphalt sections with roundabouts and jumps to give fans an action-packed start to the rally.
There are seven stages on Friday with another Super Special at Fernet Branca splitting the two loops made up of the 16.65km Las Bajadas/Villa Del Dique stage, 33.58km Amboy/Yacanto test and the 23.85km Santa Rosa/San Agustin run to finish the day.
The 6.4km Fernet Branca test – two laps on a gravel track which will see drivers go head-to-head - reappears on Saturday lunchtime as SS12.
Saturday’s action sees a combination of new and heavily revised stages for crews to tackle starting with the brand-new Tanti-Mataderos stage (13.92km) – featuring a winding, fast, route on a smooth gravel road. The second stage of the loop is a shortened Los Gigantes - Cuchilla Nevada before the loops end with the 41.49km Cuchilla Nevada – Rio Pintos test.
SS16 on Sunday morning is a 16.43km sprint on the Copina-El Condor stage with Giulio Cesare-Mina Clavero coming in at 22.41km for SS17. The rally ends with the legendary El Condor stage.
- This is the very first time that the El Condor stage will be contested uphill.
- The forecast calls for rain during the rally, which will make the river crossings on the stages even more spectacular than usual.
- The fans! Argentinian rally fans will camp out for days before the rally to get the best viewing spots once the action rolls through.