Argentina Debrief: Part 2

In the second part of our YPF Rally Argentina review, we reflect on the event’s turning point, a lucky escape, a young upstart and an awe-inspiring spectator stat.

Turning point

It’s often the case that remarkable charges up the order are sparked by the red mist descending and Ott Tänak was no exception to that.

Visibly angry after a spin during Friday’s opening test, he channeled that anger into setting lightning-quick stage times. Nowhere was that more obvious than on SS3 and SS4. 

He finished both stages more than three seconds ahead of the chasing pack and was only 1sec off Andreas Mikkelsen’s lead by lunchtime. The rest, as they say, is history.

You’ll never believe it

The Argentine fans are known for being a passionate bunch. They love their rallying. But this year might have been one of the most popular editions of their home event yet.

Police estimated almost 100,000 people made the trip into the hills - as early as the Tuesday before the rally - to claim their spot on the famous El Condor stage. Run in reverse for the first time, fans brought their tents and marquees to soak up the WRC atmosphere.

Argentine fans crowded the El Condor stage

Save of the rally

After the event, Teemu Suninen claimed he knew he could use the earth bank on the outside of a right-hander on SS6 to lean on. But judging by how wide-eyed he and co-driver Mikko Markkula were after their near-miss, that might not have been the whole truth.

Running too hot into the corner, the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver put his Fiesta up on two wheels and it was only the bank that stopped it rolling.

Surprise of the rally

In his first trip to Argentina, you’d expect 17-year-old Kalle Rovanperä to play it relatively safe as he learned the conditions. That’s exactly the opposite to what he did, as the Finn proceeded to claim 11 WRC 2 stage wins against his team-mate – and reigning champion – Pontus Tidemand.

On occasions, his stage times were more than 10 seconds quicker than Tidemand’s and it was only a crash on SS17 that denied him a memorable WRC 2 victory.


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