Thursday | 23 Apr 2015

XION Rally Argentina Recce Notes

The pre-event recce was the first chance for competitors to see the stages they will tackle this week. We drove them too, to give you a driver’s eye view of the challenge ahead.

Here are five of our recce highlights:

1: Water splashes.
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville counted more than 30 in this year’s route - double the number from last year. The one pictured below is about 15km into Friday’s Villa Bustos - Tanti stage (SS3/SS5). The water was about 30cm deep, but might be higher by the weekend if the sluice control 50 metres upstream is opened. This has been known to happen…

2: Bedrock.
February’s torrential rain and floods have rinsed some sections clean of their usual covering of loose, sandy gravel, exposing the bedrock beneath. This picture, taken on Sunday’s rally-closing El Condor, shows just how abrasive the rocky base is. Tyres will have a hard time here.

3: Razor-sharp stones.
Jari-Matti Latvala reckons the opening 20km of Friday’s Aqua de Oro - Ascochinga (SS2/SS4) is the roughest section of the event. In places, like the one below, it resembles a stage from the Acropolis Rally of Greece. The road will cut up more with every passing car, meaning more jagged stones on the racing line and larger rocks being uncovered.

4: Bridges.
These fabulous wooden-slatted bridges are another feature of El Condor. There is a sequence of four of them between the 10km and 12km point. Narrow, and slippery when wet, they also feature thick stone towers at each end which are best avoided.

5: Narrow passes
This year’s route features lots of narrow roads which offer drivers little room for error. This section of Saturday’s Capilla Del Monte - San Marcos stage (SS7/SS9), which hasn’t been used since 2009, is typical. With a low wall on one side and a rock face on the other, a mistake here won’t go unpunished.

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