Monday | 20 Apr 2015

Rally Rewind: Argentina 2014

Rally Argentina always throws up surprises, and last year’s edition, run from 9th - 11th May, was no exception.

Unusually rough and muddy roads led to multiple retirements and even the world champion had issues to contend with. One man, however, seemed to take it all in his stride.

Friday 10 May
Fresh from wins in Mexico and Portugal, Sébastien Ogier was untouchable on Thursday’s Super Special, but on Friday, his Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala was the man to beat. The pair were involved in a see-saw battle and the lead changed hands three times in four stages before Latvala blitzed his rival in the final test to overnight with a 17.7sec advantage. Behind them, caution paid dividends for Kris Meeke, who was third in a Citroen DS3 on his first Argentine WRC outing. Stages littered with rocks and compressions took their toll and five top drivers retired. Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Østberg went out on the first stage. Dani Sordo dropped 12 minutes with a turbo problem and later retired his Hyundai i20. His team-mate Thierry Neuville stopped with similar issues. Andreas Mikkelsen parked his Polo R with an alternator problem. A cautious run from Elfyn Evans put him fourth on his Argentine debut, 0.2sec ahead of fellow Ford Fiesta RS driver Robert Kubica. Martin Prokop rounded off the top six.

Flailing tyre tread caused Ogier big problems on Saturday

Saturday 11 May
The statistics show that Latvala won three of the day’s five stages to stretch his lead over Ogier to 31.2sec, but in reality both drivers were lucky to make it through. Ogier was first to hit trouble. On SS8, after a mid-stage spin, the front left tyre on his Polo R began shedding its tread, smashing away sections of wing and bumper. Latvala emerged from the same stage having got away with a spin and a second mistake under braking. Ogier’s problems had further consequences through the following stage, when the bumper and spoiler unit fell off, triggering his engine into safety mode when it started to overheat, and dropping him further behind. Meeke kept out of trouble in third, but behind him now was Mikkelsen, who shrugged off the disappointment of his earlier retirement by winning the opening test, then climbing three places, past Prokop, Evans and Kubica. Neuville recovered to fifth, with the three Fiesta drivers behind. Ostberg was in discomfort after catching his hand on a spinning steering wheel, while Sordo stopped again with another engine-related problem.

Sunday 12 May
Conditions for the final day were appalling, with thick fog and deep mud in the El Condor and Giulio Cesare stages. Ogier refused to chase Latvala and the gap widened by almost a minute, with the Finn taking victory by 1min 26.9sec. It was Latvala’s second victory of the season, and came 12 months after his maiden podium for Volkswagen at the same rally. Meeke, under pressure after crashing in Mexico and Portugal, claimed his second podium of the season in a Citroen DS3. He kept a wary eye on the closing Mikkelsen and headed the Norwegian’s Polo R by 23.6sec. Neuville broke a driveshaft on his Hyundai early in the final stage but came home in fifth ahead of Robert Kubica. Evans was seventh with Prokop eighth.

More News