Sebastien Loeb emerged as the quickest driver in shakedown for the fifth round of the World Rally Championship season in Argentina.
The Citroen driver, chasing his fifth win of the season as well as a fifth straight Argentine victory, posted a quickest time of 4min 57.8secs from his three runs through the stage near the service park, which put him just ahead of the Ford of Mikko Hirvonen.
“The stage was very sandy and slippery,” the Frenchman told the official WRC website, “but I think we've found a good set-up.
“It's difficult when it's like this because the gravel is so duty and fine, it's almost like driving on a beach. However, I don't think it will stay dry for the event and I think we'll get some rain, which will help the grip and make the stages faster and more exciting to drive. Damp stages would be my preference.”
Hirvonen was the only other driver to dip below the five minute mark for the shakedown test, while Dani Sordo in the second Citroen was third quickest.
Petter Solberg in his Citroen Xsara was fourth, with brother Henning and Jari-Matti Latvala completing the top six.
The event will get underway this evening, with the opening rund through the Super Special stage located in Cordoba Stadium.
Rally Argentina – Shakedown times (top ten):
1. Sebastien Loeb
Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 04min 57.8secs
2. Mikko Hirvonen
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 04min 58.4secs
3. Daniel Sordo
Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC 05min 00.1secs
4. Petter Solberg
PS WRT Citroen Xsara WRC 05min 02.2secs
5. Henning Solberg
Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC 05min 02.4secs
6. Jari-Matti Latvala
BP Ford Abu Dhabi Focus RS WRC 05min 05.0secs
7. Matthew Wilson
Stobart VK Ford Focus WRC 05min 08.6secs
8. Sebastien Ogier
Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 05min 08.7secs
9. Federico Villagra
Munchi's Ford Focus WRC 05min 10.1secs
10. Conrad Rautenbach
Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC 05min 10.3secs