Hanninen wins as Meeke retires

Juho Hanninen has extended his Intercontinental Rally Challenge points lead by clinching a dominant Rally Argentina victory - while reigning champion Kris Meeke was forced to retire at the end of the penultimate stage

Hanninen wins as Meeke retires

Skoda driver Hanninen dominated from the outset, winning 11 of the event's 13 full-length stages and gradually striding away from nearest rivals Meeke and Guy Wilks. The Finn's final winning margin was 51 seconds.

Meeke had led for Peugeot UK initially after winning Friday's superspecial, but could not keep pace with Hanninen over the weekend and had a variety of issues, starting with intermittent engine cut-outs that hampered him in his battle for second with Wilks (Skoda UK) on Saturday.

That was followed by a throttle sensor problem that saw him fall a minute adrift of Wilks this morning. Worse was to follow when Meeke suffered a broken steering joint and suspension on the penultimate stage, costing him four minutes and dropping him to sixth place. Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle did their utmost to try and fix the problem so they could get to the final superspecial, but eventually had to concede defeat and retire on the road section.

Hanninen's team-mate Jan Kopecky therefore moved up to third to complete an all-Skoda podium after a quietly consistent rally.

Gabriel Pozzo was the top Group N runner and best of the Argentineans in fourth place, winning a long battle with World Rally Championship regular and local hero Federico Villagra, who was unhappy with a lack of power from his M-Sport Ford for most of the weekend.

Bruno Magalhaes took sixth for Peugeot Portugal. He had been second on the opening superspecial, but illness, his lack of experience on the Argentinean stages and discomfort with some of his pace notes saw him drop back when the rally got properly underway.

Nasser Al-Attiyah had an unhappy IRC debut in the Rene Georges Skoda. He was unable to match the series regulars, then tumbled down the order with a double puncture, before eventually retiring when his engine cut at a watersplash this morning.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Juho Hanninen Skoda 2h30m38.1s 2. Guy Wilks Skoda + 51.0s 3. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 2m20.1s 4. Gabriel Pozzo Subaru + 5m03.9s 5. Federico Villagra Ford + 5m14.2s 6. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot + 6m11.0s 7. Nicolas Madero Mitsubishi + 6m47.5s 8. Diego Dominguez Mitsubishi + 7m39.3s 9. Alejandro Cancio Mitsubishi  + 8m38.3s 10. Juan Manuel Marchetto Mitsubishi + 9m17.6s 
Hanninen closes on Argentina victory

Previous article

Hanninen closes on Argentina victory

Next article

Meeke let down by suspension failure

Meeke let down by suspension failure
Load comments
Ireland deserves a WRC round Plus

Ireland deserves a WRC round

Drivers are in accordance: Ireland should be in the World Rally Championship. DAVID EVANS followed the Circuit of Ireland and was left with no doubt that the drivers are right

Apr 23, 2014
Kubica's rally to recovery Plus

Kubica's rally to recovery

Robert Kubica's rally speed is obviously there - in abundance - but he's got to stop crashing. Charles Bradley went to the Azores to get the lowdown on the ex-F1 star's comeback trail

May 3, 2013
Why Kubica can win on ERC debut Plus

Why Kubica can win on ERC debut

Former GP winner Robert Kubica makes his international comeback this week in the Canaries Rally. And David Evans reckons he'll win aboard a Citroen DS3 RRC

Mar 21, 2013
Rallying's new era keeps the best of the old Plus

Rallying's new era keeps the best of the old

As the IRC to ERC transformation takes effect in Austria, David Evans is excited that the IRC's promotional strengths will carry over - but still wishes the WRC could get some of that magic

Jan 3, 2013
Farewell IRC, long live ERC Plus

Farewell IRC, long live ERC

As the Intercontinental Rally Challenge prepares for its swansong in Cyprus, David Evans recalls the shortlived series' heyday - and looks ahead to its European successor

Nov 1, 2012
The 2011 IRC season review Plus

The 2011 IRC season review

The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season

Nov 22, 2011
Who to watch in the Monte Carlo Rally Plus

Who to watch in the Monte Carlo Rally

This year is the Monte Carlo Rally's centenary and, just as in recent years, there's no shortage of World Rally Championship stars turning up to give the IRC regulars a run for their money

Jan 18, 2011
The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010 Plus

The top 10 IRC drivers of 2010

The competition didn't run as deep as it might have, but there was plenty of fight at the front with six of our top 10 winning rallies during the season. Matt Beer puts them in order

Nov 29, 2010