OPEN FINAL: FOUR CANDIDATES TO YPF RALLY ARGENTINA
Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta RS) closed the second day in YPF Rally Argentina 2017 leading again. But Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20), Ott Tanak (Ford Fiesta RS) and Sébastien Ogier (Ford Fiesta RS) are much closer than he expected. Among the four candidates, none of them has ever won in this country and the speculation will be absent in this open final.
Evans started the second day with a win in the first stage, extending his lead in the overall to over one minute. The Briton tried to administer his advantage, but he lost the rear diffusor in stage 13 (SS13: Tanti – Villa Bustos II) and Neuville had an excellent performance all along the day. All this resulted in a loss of 50 seconds from that original gap. Now, the gap between the leader and his runner-up is only 11s5.
Tanak also had a remarkable performance. The Estonian won two stages and got a solid third place in the overall 26s8 behind the leader. Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota Yaris), the two most experimented drivers in WRC, are in the fourth and fifth places respectively. Both of them, although a bit behind, surely know that the third day in this rally always poses surprises and thus they will be fighting for and expecting a podium position.
The great loser this Saturday was Mads Ostberg. The Norwegian, who was for a time in the second place in the overall and was fighting with factory cars for a place on the podium, had a broken suspension in his Ford Fiesta RS in SS14 and had to retire for the day.
Others that had a difficult day were the members of the Citröen Total Abu Dhabi WRT. Craig Breen broke the engine of his C3 and was not able to start the first stage of the day, while Kris Meeke, who was able to win two consecutive stages, rolled in again on SS14 and was out of competition again.
Evans will have to endure 55.28 kilometres of competition and Neuville, Tanak and Ogier will have to take advantage of that to win for the first time in our country. The passionate definition of the 37th edition of the YPF Rally Argentina 2017 will take place again on the historical stage of El Cóndor – Copina which has witnessed great breakthroughs and surprises.
Elfyn Evans (1°): “We had problems in the rear part of the car. It was a difficult afternoon. But I’m going to go out for the win tomorrow”.
Thierry Neuville (2°): “First of all I have to say I had an amazing day. Everything was going well, quite relaxed, we were enjoying it. Our car was working perfectly well, especially on the twisty sections of the last stage. We took back a lot of time. It’s promising for tomorrow. I have nothing to lose. I hear the fighting talk of Eflyn but I think he’s been well taught by Malcolm. I’ve been in the team as well and I know he’s always saying “you have to say you’ll put pressure, that you’ll push to the maximum” For sure he’s going well but I’ve been more often than him on this position so I definitely feel more confident. I also know he’s capable of doing a good job and go through the day without making mistakes. It will be an interesting day and a tough day… for him!”.
Ott Tanak (3°): “We did a fantastic job. The conditions were complicated. Tomorrow we are going to do our best. Today we had a great fight with Neuville”.
Overall Qualification YPF Rally Argentina 2017
1) Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta RS), 53m45s7
2) Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20), +11s5
3) Ott Tanak (Ford Fiesta RS), +26s8
4) Sébastien Ogier (Ford Fiesta RS), +49s9
5) Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota Yaris), +1m24s6
Tidemand stretches the gap in WRC2
After a terrible Friday, the Mexican driver Benito Guerra recovered and won SS10, SS11, SS13 and SS15. However, Pontus Tidemand continued to advance in the overall classification after winning the other two specials of the day. So the Skoda Motorsport driver has a time of 3:07:43.2. The local Juan Carlos Alonso comes after him at a 9:41.6 and place Pedro Heller comes in third place (+20:23.7).
Sunday April 30
SS16 El Cóndor – Copina (16,32km) – 9:13hs
SS17 Mina Clavero – Giulio (22,64km) – 10:56hs
SS18 Power Stage El Condor (16,32km) – 12:18hs
Have a look at spectators zones by following this link: http://bit.ly/2qfYEGs
IMPORTANT: SS18 Power Stage El Cóndor is already closed for spectators. Full capacity covered.