Loeb wins in Argentina!
Sixth victory in South America for Citroen’s world champion
Sebastien Loeb has won Rally Argentina for a sixth time following a dramatic final morning.
The Citroen DS3 WRC ace, hamstrung by a one-minute penalty handed out on day one for an early check-in, started day three in third overall, 47.7s behind event leader and team-mate Sebastien Ogier.
But after powering ahead of Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen for second on Sunday’s first test, Loeb began stage 18 21.5s behind Ogier, who had rolled on stage 17, losing the use of his power steering in the process.
With Ogier unable to prevent further time loss through the final two stages and with Hirvonen’s best efforts not enough to defeat Loeb, the Frenchman held on for his 65th WRC triumph, which means he extends his title lead over his Finnish rival, who finished second with Ogier a despondent third.
“I didn’t feel I would be able to fight for the victory at the end of rally but I’m really happy how it has gone,” said Loeb. “It was important to keep the lead of the championship and not lose these points.”
S19: Power Stage joy for Solberg
Petter Solberg gained some revenge for dropping out of the battle for the rally lead on day two by winning the event-closing Power Stage.
But while the Norwegian celebrated claiming three bonus points, Sebastien Loeb managed to sneak ahead of Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier to win Rally Argentina for the sixth time in a dramatic finish to the world championship qualifier.
“I tried very hard but my tyres were very worn, this is very good for me,” said Solberg afterwards.
Mikko Hirvonen was second fastest with Loeb third and Latvala fourth: “There was one lift towards the end when I should have been flat, that was maybe half a second,” said Latvala. “Otherwise it was really good.”
Ken Block survived a half-spin and a brush with a bank in his Monster World Rally Team Fiesta to record the eighth fastest time. “The car just stepped out, the rear tyres were a bit worn and I couldn’t get it back,” said Block.
Hayden Paddon maintained his healthy advantage at the top of the Production Car World Rally Championship leaderboard to win the class for the second event in succession.
The top 12 crews tackled the stage in reverse order. The stage was shown live on television around the world.
Final standings - After SS19:
|01||S. LOEB / D. ELENA||Citroën DS3 WRC||4h03m56.9s|
|02||M. HIRVONEN / J. LEHTINEN||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2.4s|
|03||S. OGIER / J. INGRASSIA||Citroën DS3 WRC||+7.3s|
|04||P. SOLBERG / C. PATTERSSON||Citroën DS3 WRC||+32.6s|
|05||M. ØSTBERG / J. ANDERSSON||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+5m16.8s|
|06||F. VILLAGRA / J. PÉREZ COMPANC||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+6m48.5s|
|07||J. LATVALA / M. ANTTILA||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+11m34.5s|
|08||M. WILSON / S. MARTIN||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+13m32.7s|
|09||H. PADDON / J. KENNARD||Subaru Impreza||+25m43.8s|
|10||P. FLODIN / M. ANDERSSON||Subaru Impreza||+33m34.1s|
|11||D. TAGIROV / A. ZAVERSHINSKAYA||Subaru Impreza||+39m10.7s|
|12||N. FUCHS / F. MUSSANO||Mitsubishi Evo X||+43m56.2s|
|13||R. ORLANDINI / J. CILLONIZ||Mitsubishi Evo IX||+47m39.2s|
|14||M. SEMERAD / M. ERNST||Mitsubishi Evo IX||+47m59.6s|
|15||B. GUERRA / B. ROZADA||Mitsubishi Evo X||+49m00.2s|
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