Paddon fastest at Argentina shakedown
Latvala and Ogier take second and third
Wilson's Argentina absence: After an unbroken run of 269 WRC rallies, M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson (above) will be absent from the service park this weekend. Instead, he'll be following YPF Rally Argentina from his home in the UK while he recuperates from surgery.
Wilson has been part of M-Sport's on-event team since his firm took over Ford's rally programme in 1997. But he has been advised against travelling to Argentina this time following surgery on an ankle injury he sustained in the 1980 Scottish Rally.
"I'll certainly be keeping a watchful eye on how everything is progressing," he said. "This is the first event I've ever missed, so I'm sure it will be a strange experience not being in the thick of the action. Rest assured I'll be back in the service park in Portugal."
Sousa for Trophy: Experienced Portuguese driver Bernardo Sousa heads the entries for the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy which kicks off at next month’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May).
Sousa, who has 38 WRC starts to his name and finished fourth in the SWRC in 2011, is one of 10 entries for the opening round. He is joined by Welshman Osian Pryce, who competed in the Junior WRC last year, and fellow UK drivers Jon Armstrong and Gus Greensmith.
Finland’s Max Vatanen returns for a third season while Oscar Solberg, son of WRC driver Henning, is also on the list. All will be driving Ford Fiesta R2T cars.
Evans’ concerns: WRC 2 leader Elfyn Evans encountered gearchange issues during Thursday morning shakedown in Argentina. Fears of a gearbox failure were allayed when the problem was traced to a faulty oil pressure sensor on his Ford Fiesta R5.
Pedder’s back with a Fabia: Australia’s Scott Pedder will switch from a Ford Fiesta R5 to an AutoTek-run Skoda Fabia R5 when he returns this year for a second season in WRC 2.
Alongside co-driver Dale Moscatt, the former Australian Rally Champion will tackle the European rounds in Portugal, Poland and Finland before heading to China and later rounding off his campaign on home turf in Coffs Harbour.
“That’s our plan at this stage, but we’ll assess our progress and championship position after the European rounds and if all is going well we have options for a further two european events,” said Pedder.