22 April 2015
WRC Rally Argentina: Ogier, Meeke top shakedown
Championship leader Sebastien Ogier and Britain's Kris Meeke tie for top spot in the shakedown for Rally Argentina
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier and Citroen's Kris Meeke were joint quickest on Wednesday in the shakedown for Rally Argentina.
Ogier, who has won every event so far this season and who is bidding for his sixth win on the trot this weekend, opted for three runs through the 4.59 km test in his Polo R WRC, setting his best time on his final pass, when he completed it in 2mins 30.9secs. Meeke was also quickest on his last run and matched Ogier, but he opted for four goes.
“The feeling in the car is good. I am very happy with the shakedown, although the road was far less raw and rocky than the special stages we experienced during the recce,” said Ogier.
“As far as the route conditions are concerned, I have never seen a tougher Rally Argentina in my career so far. It will be extremely interesting for the fans to see who makes it through to the finish on Sunday in these conditions. It will be important not to take too many risks.
“Friday's opening stage will be particularly exciting, as we will be driving over 50 kilometres without any split times. In this situation, you never know how you are doing compared to the opposition.”
“It's good to be back in the car,” Meeke added. “The shakedown went very well. The roads were pretty slippery on the first pass, the road surface was very dry, but it was better after that. The DS 3 WRC is working perfectly. We worked on the set-up so that the car is as balanced as possible on the most difficult stages. Some of the tests are very rough.”
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen came in third, 1.2 seconds slower, with Mads Ostberg fourth, 0.1 seconds back in his Citroen and Jari-Matti Latvala fifth, 0.4s further adrift in the other Polo R.
“After a lengthy break, the shakedown is always the perfect opportunity to get used to the speed and feel in a World Rally Car again. We did precisely that today,” Mikkelsen recounted.
“The coming days will be tough for the car and us, the driver and co-driver. The rain has severely eroded the roads and left some deep holes. For this reason, it will be important to drive intelligently and look after the car, as well as to be quick. I have always had good results in Argentina. I am looking forward to the rally.”
Latvala echoed those sentiments: “It has been a long break between the rallies in Mexico and Argentina. For this reason, the Shakedown is always about getting a feel for the Polo again. After three runs of the shakedown, we have now achieved that and hope to start the rally on Friday with the same rhythm we had when we won here last season.
“It is fantastic to be back here, and I am looking forward to the special stages, which are tough and demanding but also very beautiful.”
Hyundai duo Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo took sixth and seventh, with Ott Tanak eighth for M-Sport, one spot ahead of team-mate, Elfyn Evans. Hayden Paddon rounded out the top ten, very slow on his third pass due to a broken steering arm bolt.
Rally Argentina now officially begins on Thursday, with the ceremonial start at 13.45 hours local time. It is then followed by the first test, the 2.68 km Super Especial 1, scheduled to run in the evening at 19.00 hours local time.
2015 Rally Argentina: Shakedown times (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2m 30.9s M
= Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC 2m 30.9s M
3. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC 2m 32.1s M
4. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC 2m 32.2s M
5. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2m 32.6s M
6. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC 2m 32.9s M
7. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC 2m 34.4s M
8. Ott Tanak M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 34.9s M
9. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 35.3s M
10. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC 2m 36.9s M
11. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 37.9s M
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial
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