Argentina 2012 Preview – WRC Endurance

The next round of the World Rally Championships takes us to Argentina. But this year, it’s not just a long haul to get to. With a further 200km’s added to it compared to last year, the 2012 edition of Rally Argentina will be the first of the new ‘Endurance’ Rallies. Not to everyone’s liking but certainly brings on a new challenge to the worlds best drivers and teams.

In total the Rally will be a competitive distance of 502.73km, the rally kicks off with on Thursday night. Friday will contain 5 monster stages. SS 2 La Pampa is 37.5km, Stage 3 Ascochinga  is a giant 51.88km. A Service back at Carlos Paz and then they’re repeated with a final stage of 19.18km to end the day. Day 3 has 7 stages, morning loop of 3 which are repeated in the afternoon. Then on to the final day which will kick of with a mega 65.75km SS14 Matadero stage. Stage 15 and 16 will be repeated in the afternoon, Stage 16 being the famous El Condor stage before the final 4km Power stage.

Teams have issued Quotes from the drivers on their thoughts before the event.


 Sébastien Loeb: “After the disappointment of Portugal, I am determined to get back to winning ways, especially at this rally, with its unrivalled atmosphere. Once again, choosing our starting positions for the first leg is going to be a real headache. In Portugal, we took a measured risk by opting to go first, because there were only 35km of special stages on the first day. In Argentina, there are over 200km of timed stages on the Friday! If it rains, we’ll need to be at the front to avoid having to wade through the mud. If it doesn’t, then we’d certainly be better off starting in around 15th position.”
Mikko Hirvonen: “We thought that we would see a real pecking order between the various competitors established in Portugal. The way the race worked out meant we didn’t get that and I think this rally is going to be very open again. In Portugal, we spent the most of the rally driving at a measured pace. The main thing was to stay on the road, as we had a good lead. I can’t wait to get back to real racing in Argentina. The rally has some very beautiful stages and I always enjoy competing here.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah: “I am happy to be racing on fairly long stages, because it’s something that naturally, I can manage well. On Sunday morning, we start the third leg with a timed stage of almost 66km. That’s huge for the WRC, where the stages are rarely over 40km, but it’s fairly short for rally-raid. However, we mustn’t confuse the two disciplines, you can’t really compare them. I like both and I’m really happy to be competing in this rally in a DS3 WRC.”


Petter Solberg: “I enjoy this rally but I think it could be quite different this year. It’s 120km longer than in 2011 and that may alter the way in which some drivers approach it. It’s not a sprint, it’s an endurance rally. There’s no need to get too excited too early and attack from the start, so I can wait a little, judge the pace and push later on when I need to.”
“It’s a difficult rally. The final day’s stages are at high altitude and conditions can be bad up there. Fog and even ice are not unusual. But I love it, partly because of the atmosphere. The stages are packed with people and even the liaison sections on the public roads have huge crowds. They’re so enthusiastic.”

Dani Sordo, who will replace Latvala for this one event in Ford has had only one test before the rally, but has finished 2nd in Argentina in the past. – Dani Sordo: “I’m excited to be driving for Ford in Argentina because when you are a rally driver all you want to do is compete. Although I’ve not had a lot of time behind the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC, I quickly felt comfortable in the car during testing. The engineers provided a base set-up that worked for me and I’ll approach practice in Argentina with those settings.”
“It’s like a home event for me because I speak the same language and in previous years the support from the fans was fantastic. This is only a one-off drive for Ford, but I want to do the best for the team and prove they made the right decision in selecting me. I’m not setting any targets, apart from a points finish, and I’ll judge my pace by how I feel once the rally gets under way.”

Jari Matti will be sitting this one out due to an injury while skiing, but has given some words on his thoughts about Dani Sordo taking his place for this event. Jari – Matti Latvala: “Dani has been driving very well in Argentina before and showed good speed in Portugal. We know he is very quick and I believe the Ford is a very strong car and the team is very strong also. Dani has all the possibilities to be on the podium. “I will follow it (Rally Argentina) very carefully. I will get the stage times to my phone after every stage. Of course I want to drive and I feel bad that I am not because rallying is my passion.”

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