Sunday | 26 Apr 2015

SS11: Latvala retires in Sunday's opener

Jari-Matti Latvala retired from third place in Sunday’s opening special stage of XION Rally Argentina with engine problems in his Volkswagen Polo R.

Stage info: SS11

El Condor / Copina, 16.32km
One of the most famous roads in the WRC. Located in the Traslasierra mountains, it boasts stunning views in good weather, but fog and rain transform it into hell. At the start it winds around massive rocks, on which huge crowds perch roadside, before descending on a rough, rock-strewn road across famous iron bridges which hang from canyons. It is smoother near the end and drops 746 metres from start to finish.

He stopped for about 25 minutes on the liaison section from the Villa Carlos Paz service park to the start of the famous El Condor test after issues with the fuel supply to one of the engine cylinders.

He started the stage two minutes late and drove at reduced speed through the early part of the test before the car stopped after 12km and again 600 metres later. His retirement was confirmed shortly afterwards.

Leader Kris Meeke was seventh fastest in Citroën’s DS 3 but the Northern Irishman, closing on his maiden WRC win, wasn’t in the mood for talking at the finish.

Team-mate Mads Østberg was 11.6sec faster than Meeke and the gap between the duo at the head of the leaderboard stood at 27.0sec as they headed back up the mountain for the second pass through the stage.

Latvala’s retirement promoted Elfyn Evans into third in his Ford Fiesta RS, the Welshman on the verge of his maiden WRC podium.

Andreas Mikkelsen was quickest in a Polo R by 5.7sec from Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20, with championship leader Sébastien Ogier third in another Polo R.

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