latvalaVolkswagen vs. Hyundai for the lead in the fourth event of the WRC season

Latvala/Anttila snatch the lead in the Polo R WRC, Ogier/Ingrassia second


Volkswagen against Hyundai, Latvala vs. Ogier and Paddon – the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) delivered its fans in Argentina a hotly contested battle for the lead.

After 152 of 365 kilometres of special stages, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC lead the standings – just 7.9 seconds ahead of their Volkswagen team-mates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), and a further 3.5 seconds ahead of Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ, Hyundai).

Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) in the third World Rally Car from Wolfsburg are in fourth place after the first full day of the competition – thereby poised to pounce on a podium finish.

The first day of the Rally Argentina was characterised by the gravelly tracks of the special stages “Soconcho–Villa del Dique”, “Amboy–Santa Mónica” and “Santa Rosa–San Agustín”, on which a combination of calculated risk and careful handling of the car were called for.

Quotes, day 01 Argentina

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“Julien and I couldn’t get any more out of today – we were right at the limit. I’m very pleased with what we achieved. To be honest, I expected to lose more time to the top at the start of the rally. Which is why I wasn’t feeling very optimistic at the lunch break. However, the conditions in the afternoon were better than I thought they would be. The track profiles are spectacular and so much fun. And the Polo R WRC was on top form. Julien and I will give it our all to be in with a chance of getting our first win in Argentina right down to the wire.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“I am very pleased with the first full day here in Argentina. The main thing was to get a feel for the conditions and slowly pick up the pace. I built up a small lead stage by stage. We’ll try to continue this tomorrow. My team-mate Sébastien Ogier and Hayden Paddon in the Hyundai are really fast and it is an exciting competition. Nothing is decided yet, but like I said, I am really pleased with the first day.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“I purposely started the Rally Argentina cautiously and always gave myself a bit of breathing space. I have always been fast here – but I’ve not managed to avoid setbacks on my four starts so far. Naturally I want to change that this time. I like the stages, and am enjoying the tracks – particularly because my Polo is set up perfectly and is running like clockwork. We’ve laid a good foundation for a top result today and are in with a chance of finishing on the podium.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
Friday in Argentina showed just how exciting the WRC is. A closely fought manufacturer’s battle has developed between Volkswagen and Hyundai, and Latvala, Ogier and Paddon are embroiled in a thrilling three-way driver’s battle. There’s no way of telling who is going to come out on top in the end. But we are not only in a good position with Jari-Matti and Sébastien, there’s Andreas Mikkelsen too. Like his team-mates, he has adopted a clever, forward-looking and fast pace, and is ready to pounce on a podium position. Everyone in the team will be on high alert for the rest of the rally to make sure things continue to go so well.”

And then there was …

… a side job for co-drivers. The co-drivers alongside Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen were not only tasked with reading out the pace notes with their usual precise timing at the Rally Argentina, they also had to defy the wet. In light of the many water passages, Julien Ingrassia, Miikka Anttila and Anders Jæger need to make regular additional interventions: Going into particularly deep waterways, they need to engage a switch to operate a flap that blocks the air supply to the engine, to prevent water from entering the intake passage.

Provisional result after day one of the Rally Argentina

01. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen, 1h 26m 31.3s
02. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, + 7.9s
03. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 11.4s
04. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, + 25.7s
05. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 49.0s
06. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N), Ford, + 2m 07.9s
07. Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (N/A), Ford, + 4m 04.4s
08. Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (F/F), Ford, + 5m 33.8s
09. Marcos Sebastián Ligato/Rubén García (RA/RA), Citroën, + 6m 05.1s
10. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, + 7m 34.4s

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