Argentina has acquired a reputation as one of the FIA World Rally Championship’s toughest fixtures and the high-speed mix of mountain and pampas roads could provide the sternest test yet for 2017’s new-look World Rally Cars.
The route for YPF Rally Argentina (27 - 30 April) is similar to last year, visiting the three valleys of Cordoba province from its traditional Villa Carlos Paz base and offering a hugely diverse range of gravel terrain.
Drivers are eased into the action with a mixed surface 1.75km super special stage in Cordoba city on Thursday evening.
Friday heads south to soft and sandy roads around Santa Rosa de Calamuchita. Two identical loops kick off with the San Agustin to Villa General Belgrano test which has not been driven since 2008.
Each loop ends with a popular super special stage at the theme park in Villa Carlos Paz and service in the town divides the two forays south.
Saturday’s second leg features rockier stages north-west of the host town in the Punilla Valley. The format is again two loops of three tests, with the Tanti - Villa Bustos stage run in the opposite direction to 2016.
Highlight of the day is the near-40km test from Los Gigantes to Cantera El Condor, the two passes comprising almost half the 160km of competition which makes this the longest leg of the event.
The finale is on classic rock-strewn tracks in the Traslasierra mountains, south-west of Villa Carlos Paz. The spectacular lunar-like landscape of Giulio Cesare sandwiches two passes through the equally famous hanging bridges of El Condor.
The second run forms the live TV Power Stage with bonus points to the fastest five drivers.
There are 18 stages in all, covering 357.59km in a route of 1417.98km.
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