Rally Argentina winner Jari-Matti Latvala feared he might have blown his chance of victory during Saturday afternoon’s dramatic see-saw stage when both he and team-mate Sébastien Ogier hit trouble.
Latvala was 21sec clear of the Frenchman going into the second pass of the San Agustin - Villa del Dique test.
He spun his Volkswagen Polo R near the start and later stalled the engine. But he still set fastest time as Ogier also spun and finished with rubber flailing from his front left tyre when it delaminated.
“I don’t understand why but I became a little bit nervous before the stage and I wasn’t relaxed when I started to drive. I made a stupid mistake. I was too early on the acceleration and the wheels were a little bit in the wrong position, so the front right wheel dug into the sand and we spun,” he said.
“I saw at the next split that Seb was ahead by about four seconds and I thought things were going to be difficult because I wasn’t having the best feeling. His lead increased to five or six seconds but then he spun and we stalled in the same place. It was an amazing stage,” he added.
The Finn said he had extra pace had he needed it, but it would have been a risk in the tough conditions.
“I said before the rally that this would be about endurance and about speed, and I think I was careful on some of the bad sections. There would have been a little bit more to go but the result wouldn’t be necessarily the same.
“The places we thought we can attack we did, and the places where we didn’t feel so good we took it carefully,” added Latvala.