Rally Argentinië 23m 26 april 2009
Eindstand na dag 3:
Latvala claims points finish despite final day
BP Ford Abu
Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila
finished sixth on Rally Argentina today after bouncing back from a final
day drama. The Finns were on course for third in their Ford Focus RS
World Rally Car until they lost an agonising eight minutes on this
morning's opening speed test which dropped them to seventh. However,
they battled back to claim their second points finish of the FIA World
Rally Championship season after a hot, rough and dusty fifth round.
Rally Argentina is one of the championship's classic events and huge
crowds estimated at more than a million people flocked into the pampas
to view the action. The gravel tracks in the mountains near Carlos Paz
in Cordoba province were rocky and rougher than normal after an unusual
spell of warm weather in the south American autumn. Temperatures reached
26ºC during the weekend after a cloudy and cool opening day on Friday.
Competitors tackled 23 special stages covering
331.80km during the four days of action. The route included three passes
over a spectacular test inside Cordoba's international soccer stadium
and a double pass over the famous El Condor and Giulio Cesare tests.
high amid the stunning rock formations of the Traslasierra mountains.
Latvala's pre-rally target was a cautious drive to the finish as he
rebuilt his confidence following a violent accident in Portugal last
month when his car plunged 150 metres down a hillside. The 24-year-old
ended the opening day in sixth after damaging a tyre following a heavy
landing and losing further seconds when his car's cooling system became
blocked. However, he climbed to third yesterday, despite a bizarre
incident when his bonnet broke loose and flew clear over the top of the
His podium hopes ended about 6km after the start of this morning's first
stage. "We came down a long straight and through a watersplash with two
crests just afterwards. The rear of the car hit the crown of one of the
crests, a warning light came on and the engine stopped. I tried lots of
different things to restart it before eventually rebooting the whole
system, after which the engine fired up. It was just bad luck. I'm
disappointed to lose the podium but pleased to finish," said Latvala.
"There are no scratches on the car and it was a positive weekend for us.
I feel much stronger after this rally and I've learned a lot. I drove
cautiously, adopting a different style, and it was successful. Our pace
notes worked well and I feel everything is on course, my self-confidence
is good again. It was good to learn what can and can't be done and to
know my limits," he added.
Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen retired during yesterday's
second leg with an overheating problem in the engine of their Focus RS
WRC. The Finns were just 6.1sec from the lead when the water temperature
suddenly climbed to 140ºC and Hirvonen was forced to stop. Due to the
excessive temperature, the team did not want to risk running the car
today under SupeRally rules, electing to retire from the event and carry
out a full analysis on the engine back at its base in the UK.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson admitted Argentina had
not been kind to the team. "It was a disappointing weekend, especially
as we were challenging for victory yesterday afternoon. It was Mikko's
first retirement since 2006 and ended his run of 22 consecutive points
finishes going back to the same year. I'm pleased with Jari-Matti's
progress. He was on course for a podium and I'm disappointed to lose
that, but this rally was good for his confidence
Ford of Europe motorsport director Mark Deans said: "This wasn't a great
weekend from a championship perspective but the season is still in its
first half and we'll regroup, we'll keep fighting and continue to
challenge," he said.
News from other Ford teams
Stobart drivers Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud finished third in
their Focus RS, climbing from fifth today following Latvala's problem
and the retirement of brother Petter with fuel pressure troubles.
Munchi's duo Federico Villagra and Jorge Perez Companc delighted their
home fans by taking fourth, a career-best result for driver and team,
edging out Stobart pair Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin by 11.2 sec.
The championship returns to Europe as it reaches the halfway point of
the season on the Italian island of Sardinia next month. Round six is
the gravel Rally d'Italia Sardegna, which is based in Olbia on 21 - 24
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 3hr 57min 40.3sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 3hr 58min 53.4sec
3. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 4hr 01min 44.4sec
4. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 4hr 03min 40.0sec
5. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 4hr 03min 51.2sec
6. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 4hr 07min 30.3sec
7. N Al-Attiyah/G Bernacchini QAT Subaru Impreza 4hr 20min 51.9sec
8. J Marchetto/J Diaz ARG Mitsubishi Lancer 4hr 21min 14.6sec
9. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 4hr 21min 34.2sec
10 M Ligato/R Garcia ARG Mitsubishi Lancer 4hr 23min 04.8sec
1. S Loeb 50pts
2. D Sordo 31pts
3. M Hirvonen 30pts
4. H Solberg 20pts
5. P Solberg 14pts
6. M Wilson 12pts
1. Citroen Total 82pts
2. BP Ford Abu Dhabi 43pts
3. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford 37pts
4. Citroen Junior 13pts
5. Munchi's Ford 12pts
Stand na dag 2:
Latvala looks towards Argentine podium as
Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila delivered another mature
performance during today's second leg of Rally Argentina to climb to
third in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car. The Finns moved three
places up the leaderboard during one of the classic day's competition in
the FIA World Rally Championship season. Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and
Jarmo Lehtinen were less fortunate, retiring from second place this
afternoon with an overheating problem in their car's engine.
Huge crowds packed today's speed tests in the countryside south-west of
the rally base in Carlos Paz, with estimates forecasting that the
figures exceeded yesterday's 300,000. After a foggy early morning, the
skies cleared and temperatures soared to around 26ºC. Drivers tackled
two identical loops of four special stages in the Traslasierra mountains,
including double passes over the famous Giulio Cesare and El Condor
tests, before a second pass over the super special stage at Cordoba's
The route climbed to a season-high of 2195 metres at El Condor, offering
spectacular viewing for the fans amid the stunning rock-filled
landscape. The nine stages, less rocky than yesterday's roads but narrow
and twisty, covered 141.64km and drivers endured more than 13 hours on
the road before returning to Carlos Paz for the final overnight halt.
Latvala never waivered from his pre-rally target of a steady drive as
the 24-year-old Finn rebuilt his confidence following a massive crash in
Portugal earlier this month, when his car plunged 150 metres down a
hillside. He started this morning in sixth and climbed to fifth during
the opening loop despite a bizarre incident when his car's bonnet broke
loose on the first stage. With the engine totally exposed, the look was
dramatic but it didn't slow Latvala.
"After the first corner of the stage a pin came loose and the bonnet
started to flap up and down. I slowed but realised the stage was long
and I could lose a lot of time, so I speeded up again. On the next
straight the bonnet came off totally, and flew over the top of the car.
We carried on as normal!" he explained.
Latvala claimed fourth on the afternoon's opening stage and moved into
the top three when Hirvonen hit problems, setting one fastest time. "We
made the decision before the rally to drive steadily here. I felt more
confident this afternoon after making a few set-up changes to the car at
lunchtime and I picked up the speed a little more. I have my feeling and
rhythm back and I'm smiling again. It would be great to finish on the
podium tomorrow," he said.
"My plan is to keep this position. I'm 41sec behind Dani Sordo in second
with 48km of stages remaining. That would mean gaining almost a second
per kilometre and there's no real chance of that. There is no service
during the day so we have five stages to tackle in succession. They are
quite short and the conditions during the recce were OK so I'm not
concerned about that," he added.
Hirvonen, lying second overnight, ended the morning loop just 7.3sec
from the lead in his Focus RS WRC. He made changes to his car's
suspension and centre differential settings at lunchtime service and was
fastest on the opening afternoon test. However, the engine's water
temperature suddenly rose about 4km from the end of the following
22.79km test and although he completed the stage with the loss of about
50sec, he went no further and will not restart tomorrow. It ends a run
of 22 consecutive points-scoring finishes going back to Rally Japan in
"The temperature gauge rose from normal to 140ºC very quickly and the
engine switched into safe mode," said the 28-year-old Finn. "I finished
the stage slowly and thought the radiator was perhaps blocked, but when
I stopped to take a look I couldn't find a blockage so I knew it was a
bigger problem. I saw there was no water in the cooling system and spoke
with my engineer on the telephone. It became clear that nothing could be
done and the team told me to retire.
"I'm disappointed because I had gained time on the previous stage and I
think the fight would have gone right down to the finish tomorrow. I had
the chance to win but even second would still have given me a chance in
the drivers' championship. That's looking very difficult now. Argentina
hasn't been kind to me," he added.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson said: "It was a big
disappointment to lose Mikko. Because of the excessive temperature that
the engine reached, we don't want to risk running the car tomorrow. We
want to take it back to the UK and analyse the engine properly,
especially as this is the first event of an engine link. Jari-Matti
drove sensibly and today has been a big confidence boost for him," he
News from other Ford teams
Stobart drivers Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud remain fifth in their
Focus RS WRC, despite struggling to turn into corners this morning.
Changes at the lunchtime service rectified the problem. Munchi's drivers
Federico Villagra and Jorge Perez Companc moved ahead of Stobart duo
Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin on the morning's final test. Although
Wilson briefly regained the advantage this afternoon, Villagra ended the
day in sixth, 18.0sec ahead.
The final day returns to the Punilla Valley, north of Carlos Paz. After
restarting at 07.30, drivers tackle four tests last used in 2007 before
a third and final pass over the super special stage at Cordoba's soccer
stadium. They return to Carlos Paz for the finish ceremony at 13.30.
Leaderboard after Day 2
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 3hr 26min 03.7sec
2. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 3hr 27min 02.3sec
3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 27min 43.8sec
4. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 3hr 28min 44.0sec
5. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 3hr 29min 27.7sec
6. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 3hr 31min 12.7sec
7. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 3hr 31min 30.7sec
8. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 42min 01.3sec
9. N Al-Attiyah/G Bernacchini QAT Subaru Impreza 3hr 45min 48.7sec
10 S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 3hr 46min 23.0sec
na dag 1:
Hirvonen sits pretty for Ford after exciting
opening in Argentina
BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo
Lehtinen are well-placed in second, just over five seconds from the lead,
after today's enthralling opening leg of Rally Argentina. The Finns
twice led this fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship in their
Ford Focus RS World Rally Car during a leg in which four different
drivers topped the leaderboard and the lead switched hands on an amazing
Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila lie sixth in their
Focus RS World Rally Car after a cautious return to competition
following their violent accident earlier this month in Portugal.
Nevertheless, Latvala won two of the leg's nine speed tests to add to
Hirvonen's one victory, and between them the Focus RS WRC drivers led
the rally for five special stages.
Argentina is one of the WRC's classic events and almost 15,000 fans
watched the opening action last night in a spectacular 2.40km test
inside Cordoba's international soccer stadium. The action continued
today as competitors headed north of the event's Carlos Paz base for two
loops of four speed tests in the hills and mountains of the Punilla
Valley, covering a further 139.76km.
An unusual spell of hot weather in the south American autumn left the
gravel roads in rough condition, and huge dust trails spiralled into the
sky with the passage of each car. Temperatures were more than 10ºC below
the 27ºC experienced yesterday and cloudy skies delivered a few drops of
rain in the stages and heavier downpours in the Carlos Paz service park.
Competition was fierce over the rocky tracks this morning. Hirvonen
initially held second before moving into the lead midway through the
loop. He returned to the lunchtime service with a lead of just 0.6sec as
a tightly-knit pack of five cars was covered by less than 10sec. "It
wasn't a perfect drive but the surface was soft and dusty with many
rocks in the first two stages. I could have pushed harder but there were
places where I had to be careful and drive round them. The car took some
heavy hits but it was strong enough to withstand those," he explained.
The 28-year-old dropped to second on the opening afternoon test, but
regained top spot with fastest time on the next stage. The positions
changed again over the final two tests but Hirvonen was content with his
"I didn't attack too hard because the roads were too rough and I wanted
to preserve the car. It was very rough this afternoon, although the rain
kept the dust down. None of the drivers had any split times during the
final stage because of a problem so I just drove at a good speed. Maybe
it would be better to be behind Sébastien Loeb in the start order
tomorrow, but the surface is soft so hopefully road sweeping will not
play too much of a part. I'm looking forward to a good fight," he added.
Following his Portuguese accident, Latvala's target is a steady run
throughout the weekend as he regains confidence. Nevertheless, the
24-year-old Finn took full advantage of better conditions further down
the start order to set fastest time in his Focus RS WRC through the
opening stage and take a 2.1sec lead over Hirvonen. He eased his pace
for the rest of the morning to return to Carlos Paz at lunchtime in
fifth, 9.1sec behind his colleague.
"Caution is the name of the game this weekend," said Latvala. "Maybe
everybody else drove steadily in the first stage. After that I decided
to ease my pace. I had to fight my natural spirit in slowing down but
sometimes you have to lose to know how to win. I feel comfortable. I'm
not pushing and I know I could go faster, but I also know it's not the
best moment to do it! It's important I aim for third or fourth and
Malcolm Wilson (team director) reminded me of that after the opening
stage this morning.
The 24-year-old dropped almost 50sec on the first afternoon test when he
damaged a rear tyre after a jump and a rising water temperature in his
car's cooling system prompted further caution as Latvala completed the
day 66.4sec behind his team-mate.
"I approached a crest too quickly and the car landed on the rear right
wheel. The impact pushed the tyre from the rim and I drove for 12km like
that. Then something blocked the car's cooling system and the water
temperature rose to 115ºC so I eased off. This afternoon there were many
rocks hitting the car's sump guard and today was the most difficult I've
experienced in Argentina. I had no fear after my accident but found it
difficult to regain my rhythm. I put less information into my pace notes
and they worked well, as I don't have too much detail to absorb," said
BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on a strong
start. "It was a great day for Mikko and he's in a good position for
tomorrow's technical stages. It was a good confidence building day for
Jari-Matti, which, coupled with two fastest stage times have given him
assurance going into the second leg. But nothing is ever quiet with
Jari-Matti. He won two stages, suffered a puncture and damaged his car's
cooling package - and that was supposed to be a steady day!" said Wilson.
News from other Ford teams
Stobart drivers Henning Solberg and Cato Menkerud lie fifth in their
Focus RS WRC, Solberg just one place behind brother Petter, with
team-mates Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin in seventh. Just one place
behind are Munchi's drivers and local favourites Federico Villagra and
Jorge Perez Companc, despite stalling their engine on the opening test
and a loose steering wheel later in the morning.
The second day takes competitors south-west of Carlos Paz for some of
the season's classic stages. After leaving at 07.00, they face two
identical loops of four tests before a second pass over the super
special stage at Cordoba stadium. The bulk of the action is based high
in the Traslasierra mountains where the dramatic rocky landscape of the
classic El Condor and Giulio Cesare tests provides stunning scenery.
Cars return to Carlos Paz for the final overnight halt at 20.30 after
141.64km of competition.
Leaderboard after Day 1
1. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 1hr 45min 11.3sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 45min 16.4sec
3. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 1hr 45min 27.6sec
4. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 1hr 45min 30.2sec
5. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 1hr 45min 59.2sec
6. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 46min 17.7sec
7. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 1hr 47min 34.3sec
8. F Villagra/J Perez Companc ARG Ford Focus RS 1hr 47min 50.2sec
9. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 1hr 48min 25.7sec
10 C Rautenbach/D Barritt ZIM Citroen C4 1hr 48min 59.5sec
terug overzicht WRC