NEUVILLE THE “CONDOR”
Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 WRC) got an incredible victory in the 39th edition of Xion Rally Argentina 2019 with his team mate Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai i20 WRC) as the runner up. The Belgian is the winner for a second time, having 10 points of advantage in the World Rally Championship (WRC). The runner-up in the tournament, Sébastien Ogier (Citroën C3 WRC), completed the podium and was the winner in the Power Stage El Cóndor, in which more than 75 thousand spectators enjoyed the show.
The oldest south American appointment of WRC does not lose its magic. The stunning images of the cars going through water splashes, the winding roads behind giant rocks that seem from another planet, and the thousands of spectators that travel to the hills several days before to see the race is renewed every year, keeping its mystic.
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT completed a magic weekend in the fifth round of the season of the 2019 Championship. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 WRC) got his second consecutive victory this year. Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai i20 WRC) -in his first podium since Sweden Rally 2018- completed the One-Two positions for the Korean trademark that now rules among the Manufacturer’s Championship with 37 points ahead Toyota Gazoo Racing.
With a good difference achieved on Saturday, Neuville and Mikkelsen did not take any unnecessary risks, but were clear in showing their great performance that allow them to win a new Scratch in Mina Calvero- Guilio Césare (20,30km). It was the fourth special stage victory of the Belgian in this race and the seventh for his team in the 18 stages that the weekend had.
The strong dominance of Hyundai did not take away the emotion of the last day of the competition. Everyone was expecting the battle of the third place, with three drivers in almost seven seconds and threes speed stages ahead.
Daniel Sordo (Hyundai i20 WRC) was quickly left away from getting the chances to get the third position. Kris Meeke (Toyota Yaris WRC) got his second partial of the race, the seventh for his team, in El Cóndor (16,43km) and took away the third place to Ogier when he arrived to Guilio Césare. Nevertheless, a flat tire in the Power Stage ruined his Sunday, taking away from him all the possibilities to celebrate at Carlos Paz and also the possibilities to win extra points in Córdoba’s hills
In that way, Ogier received a consolation prize, winning the major amount of points in the Power Stage and he was able to be in the podium for the fifth time in his career. The victory in Argentina is still something to achieve for the French, but at least he was able to avoid Neuville’s getting away in the championship.
Ostberg ruled in WRC2 Pro and Pedro Heller suffered until the last kilometer in WRC2
Mads Ostberg (Citroën C3 R5) did not have major inconveniencies in getting the victory that was almost assured since Friday when Gus Greensmith (Ford Fiesta R5) and Marco Bulacia (Skoda Fabia R5) were far behind because of tire problems. The Norwegian won Greensmith with a huge advantage. Greensmith gets the second place with 58 points in the championship and is 4 points behind the leader, the Polack Lukasz Pieniazek. Ostberg is in third position with 50 points.
Among the WRC2, Pedro Heller (Ford Fiesta R5) was driving himself to a safe victory but in the last 1000 meters from the end line, the engine of his car stopped. During some seconds that seemed endless Pedro had “the worst moment of his life” according to his own words. Thanks to the spectators he was able to start the Fiesta again. The podium was completed by the Mexican Benito Guerra (Skoda Fabia R5) and the Brazilian Paulo Nobre (Skoda Fabia R5).
The next appointment in the calendar in 2019 will take place in Chile. Between May 10th and May 12th WRC will be in that country for the first time.
Drivers positions in the Championship (after 5 rounds): 1) T. Neuville 110pts; 2) S. Ogier 100; 3) O. Tänak 82; 4) K. Meeke 54; 5) E. Evans 43….
Positions in the Manufacturer’s Championship (after 5 rounds): 1) Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 157; 2) Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 120; 3) Citroën Total WRT 117; 4) M-Sport Ford WRT 78.
Figures after the Xion Rally Argentina 2019:
- 3: Hyundai’s victories in the last four editions of Rally Argentina.
- 2: Thierry Neuville’s victories in Rally Argentina, -the third driver with more victories in this event together with Didier Auriol; Juha Kankkunen and Jorge Recalde-.
- 2: the best position achieved by Andreas Mikkelsen in the Rally Argentina.
- 75.000: the number of spectators that cheered the drivers in Copina-El Cóndor
- 40: the number of editions that the Rally Argentina will turn in 2020.