Friday | 16 May 2014

Rally Argentina driver report: Part 2

The second part of our review of the WRC drivers from last weekend’s Rally Argentina:

Mads Ostberg
Medical-related retirements don’t happen often in the WRC, but Ostberg was an unlucky victim here. Showed winning potential with the second quickest time on the opening stage, but his chances evaporated on the next when his DS3 bounced off the road into a rock.

Mechanics were able to fix his car on Friday night, but Citroen's physio wasn’t able to do the same with his thumb, caught by a spinning steering wheel when he went off.

He rejoined on Saturday, with his thumb strapped, and was a top five runner until SS9, when another kick though the steering caught his thumb again. Drove one-handed from then on, but withdrew midway through Sunday’s stages.

Sebastien Ogier
Like Sebastien Loeb before him, defending champion Ogier showed he has a good sense of when to push and, more importantly, when to back off.

He went to Argentina there hell bent on victory but, faced with his least favourite road conditions, and a team-mate prepared to push closer to the limit that he was, made a strategic switch, reasoning it was better to bank the points for second than risk losing them all in the pursuit of a win.

Not perhaps a strategy that Colin McRae would have endorsed, but for Ogier it’s all about the second title.

Martin Prokop
Prokop finished fourth at the 2012 Rally Argentina. It remains his best WRC finish to date and he never looked likely to beat it last week. Overall a disappointing event for the Czech, who spent much of the rally battling fellow Fiesta RS drivers Elfyn Evans and Robert Kubica - and coming off worse.

He had a lot of problems too. On Saturday morning he bashed a rear wheel on a bridge, damaging the diff for the rest of the day. Later he missed a junction in the fog. On Sunday he complained of damper problems and then lost his rear anti-roll bar. Prokop’s team reported ‘both crew and car are messed up after this extreme rally’. Let’s hope they’re back in shape for Sardegna.

Dani Sordo
You have to feel sorry for Sordo. Argentina was a bonus event, given in recognition of his great job in Portugal. Sadly, after going quickest at shakedown, mechanical issues wrecked his chance to impress.

A broken intercooler pipe took him out of Friday’s competition almost as soon as it started. He returned on Saturday only to stop again on the opening test with another, different, engine issue.

Mikko Hirvonen
Normally one of the most dependable drivers in the WRC, Hirvonen let himself down with a mistake he almost couldn’t believe.

A missed corner in his pace notes on Friday’s opener meant he barreled into a tight left-hander way too fast, with predictable results. £75,000 of bits later, Hirvonen and his car rejoined on Saturday in 19th place.

He showed what might have been with some great times on Saturday and Sunday to climb back to 9th. Salvaged two more points with second at the Power Stage.