Day 1: Sainz leads, Gronholm fighting back

Citroen's Carlos Sainz leads the Rally Argentina after an eventful first day proper that saw former world champions Tommi Makinen and Colin McRae both hit trouble. The Scot retired with a blown engine and the Finn is out of contention after transmission problems

Day 1: Sainz leads, Gronholm fighting back

Current title holder Marcus Gronholm lost a wheel while seemingly untouchable out in front and is currently staging a dramatic comeback.

Ford's Markko Martin was fastest on the final stage of the day, the 18.48km Museo Fader 2, and edge closer Sainz, whose overnight advantage rests at 22.4s.

Gronholm was next best through the stage to continue his run of excellent times since his wheel-culling episode on SS9, while rally leader Sainz was third quickest. The Peugeot ace lies sixth overall.

Makinen, Harri Rovanpera and Richard Burns completed the top six on the stage. Makinen is nowhere in the overall stakes after losing the best part of 14 minutes to his transmission problem on stages eight and nine.

Rovanpera and Burns though are both well-placed in third and fourth places overall, 40.1sec and 41.8sec away from Sainz respectively.
Subaru's Petter Solberg dropped almost 40 seconds on this stage alone. It's not entirely clear at this stage what the problem was though he told the team over the radio that he'd had to avoid a rock... That dropped the Norwegian's Subaru back behind Francois Duval's Ford in the overall standings to eighth.

Sebastien Loeb completed the stage seventh fastest and holds fifth place overall, 50.2sec off the lead. Duval was eighth best through the stage, ahead of Armin Schwarz in the single remaining Hyundai and Skoda men Didier Auriol and Toni Gardemeister.

Schwarz and Auriol round out the top 10, hovering on the edge of the points-scoring zone, ready to take advantage of any more retirements ahead of them.

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