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WRC drivers fear toughest Rally Argentina yet

World Rally Championship drivers fear what lies in wait on this morning's first gravel stage of Rally Argentina, which they reckon will be one of the roughest in its history.

Consistently heavy rainfall in the last two months has washed away many of the roads, leaving them potholed and deeply rutted.

The 16-miler between Santa Catalina and La Pampa, which opens proceedings this morning, is expected to be the worst of the lot.

M-Sport driver Mikko Hirvonen says this week's roads are the roughest he has driven around Cordoba in his 10 outings in Argentina.

"This is going to be one of the roughest I have seen," said the Finn. "The rain has washed away a lot of the gravel and sand from the surface of the road.

"This is a rally where it's going to pay to be clever, you can't go flat-out all the way on this one. You need to take it steady and bring it home."

Hirvonen's countryman Jari-Matti Latvala agreed, adding: "The conditions will be tough in places.

"OK, there are still some nice sections if you want to push quite hard, but in many places you have to be very, very accurate with your line - there are stones waiting for you on the inside of corners if you cut and on the outside if you run wide. There's a lot to hit!"

There had been fears from the rally organisers that, had the rain continued, certain sections of the itinerary would have had to be re-routed. After improved weather, the route remains as planned and includes 250 miles in just 14 stages.

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