SS2-3: Slender lead for Ogier in Argentina
Paddon six-tenths behind world champion
Sébastien Ogier held a narrow lead of six-tenths of a second over Hayden Paddon following Friday morning’s opening two special stages at YPF Rally Argentina.
Ogier, who was tied at the top of the standings with Dani Sordo following last night’s Cordoba street stage, was quickest in his Volkswagen Polo R through this morning’s opener from Soconcho to Villa del Dique by 1.3sec from Paddon’s Hyundai i20.
Second fastest for the Kiwi in the following test from Amboy to Santa Monica enabled him to close on the Frenchman. Jari-Matti Latvala was quickest through Amboy and was a further 3.7sec back in third in another Polo R.
Conditions in Soconcho were predicted to be extremely rough and rocky, but road opener Ogier was unperturbed.
“It was quite rough, but better than I expected,” he said. “I was expecting lower grip because conditions are drying and the set-up wasn’t quite right. The car was a bit too soft.”
Despite setting second fastest time there, Paddon was disappointed. “A terrible stage. I couldn’t get any flow and the dust hanging in the air meant I couldn’t see the braking points,” he said.
Team-mate Dani Sordo was fourth overall, despite losing time in Soconcho when he clipped a grass bank on a fast corner near the finish, damaging the rear of his i20. Andreas Mikkelsen and Ott Tänak completed the top six.
Thierry Neuville struggled for confidence and was already 42sec off the pace in eighth, while WRC 2 leader Elfyn Evans punctured in Soconcho before an electrical issue on the liaison section to the following stage forced the Welshman into retirement.
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