Jari-Matti Latvala topped a tight shakedown at YPF Rally Argentina on Thursday morning as just two-tenths of a second split the leading three cars.
Latvala, driving a Toyota Yaris, went fastest in the 6.01km gravel test from Villa Carlos Paz to Cabalango in his fourth and final pass. He edged out 2016 rally winner Hayden Paddon by 0.1sec, with Hyundai i20 Coupe team-mate Dani Sordo another tenth behind.
Sordo set the pace in the first two runs before his Kiwi colleague moved to the top of the order in the third pass. Latvala then went out for an extra fourth run to set the benchmark time.
“The feeling is good with the car,” said the Finn. “Already from the first run this morning, I felt really comfortable. It’s an event in which we had a nice fight with Hayden last year until a damper went through the bonnet and it was all over for us. I will drive according to the feeling and let’s see what it brings.”
Thierry Neuville was fourth in another i20, 0.6sec behind the lead pace, with Sébastien Ogier and Mads Østberg completing the top six, both in Ford Fiesta WRCs.
It was an exceptionally cold night in the rally base of Villa Carlos Paz as temperatures hovered just a few degrees above freezing, but it quickly warmed up to leave cloudless skies and temperatures of 19°C en route to a forecast high today of 23°C.
The leading times were:
|1.||Jari-Matti Latvala||Toyota Yaris||4min 02.0sec|
|2.||Hayden Paddon||Hyundai i20||4min 02.1sec|
|3.||Dani Sordo||Hyundai i20||4min 02.2sec|
|4.||Thierry Neuville||Hyundai i20||4min 02.6sec|
|5.||Sébastien Ogier||Ford Fiesta||4min 03.0sec|
|6.||Mads Østberg||Ford Fiesta||4min 03.4sec|
|7.||Kris Meeke||Citroën C3||4min 03.5sec|
|8.||Craig Breen||Citroën C3||4min 04.4sec|
|9.||Ott Tänak||Ford Fiesta||4min 05.3sec|
|10.||Juho Hänninen||Toyota Yaris||4min 06.4sec|