WRC Rally Argentina: Neuville leads Hyundai one-two into final day

Thierry Neuville appears set for a second World Rally Championship victory of the season with three stages in Argentina remaining, leading a Hyundai one-two by 45.7 seconds over Andreas Mikkelsen

WRC Rally Argentina: Neuville leads Hyundai one-two into final day

Current WRC points leader Neuville had been locked in a close fight with Ott Tanak until the Toyota was forced to pull off during the mid-loop Mataderos-Cuchilla Nevada stage, giving Neuville a comfortable lead over Mikkelsen.

Toyota's initial suspicion is that Tanak's problem was battery or alternator related.

Mikkelsen strengthened Hyundai's position at the front by winning the final stage of the day, despite his i20 WRC leaking fluid on SS14 - which had been spotted by third-placed Kris Meeke.

At one point on Friday, Toyota had all three of its Yaris WRCs in the top five but Meeke is now the only driver from the team in a frontrunning position.

His podium is under threat from a recovering Sebastien Ogier, who was afflicted by power steering failure after clipping a gate post on the morning pass of Cuchilla Nevada-Characato.

That incident was controversial as Ogier had unexpectedly reaching an open fork in the road where he expected the gate to be closed. He hesitated and then took the long route, which contributed to his impact with the gate post.

Organisers taped up the shorter, right hand fork in the road for the afternoon pass, with Ogier suggesting the "positions are going to change" given Citroen's efforts to get the organisers to investigate other drivers for taking the gate route.

Ogier is only 2.8s behind Meeke after SS15 thanks to winning two of the afternoon's three stages and 6.0s ahead of fifth-placed Dani Sordo, who very nearly went off after going too fast over a jump before a left-hander on Cuchilla Nevada-Characato.

Jari-Matti Latvala finished the penultimate leg of the rally in sixth, complaining of a minor engine misfire at the end of SS15 but still within striking distance of Sordo - 3.8s in arrears.

Seventh-placed Teemu Suninen struggled through SS14 with a broken intercom, with notes from co-driver Marko Salminen cutting out intermittently.

A similar problem also afflicted WRC2 Pro leader Mads Ostberg, though his eighth place overall remains unaffected.

Pedro Heller continues to lead WRC2 and hold ninth overall in a Ford Fiesta R5, with Paraguayan privateer Alejandro Galanti 10th in a Toyota Etios R5.

Should Ott Tanak return under Rally2 regulations on Sunday, he would incur only 14 minutes of penalties from missing two stages - which would slot him into ninth place ahead of Heller.

Leading positions after SS15

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 2h37m23.6s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 45.7s
3 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Citroen Total WRT Citroen 1m06.0s
4 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 1m12.0s
5 Kris Meeke, S.Marshall Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 1m13.2s
6 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 1m28.3s
7 Teemu Suninen, M.Salminen M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 3m48.4s
8 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Citroen 12m14.5s
9 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 14m14.3s
10 Pedro Heller, M.Marti Pedro Heller Ford 16m18.2s

shares
comments
WRC Rally Argentina: Ott Tanak forced out of lead battle
Previous article

WRC Rally Argentina: Ott Tanak forced out of lead battle

Next article

Meeke route penalty demotes Toyota ace off the Argentina WRC podium

Meeke route penalty demotes Toyota ace off the Argentina WRC podium
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Plus

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Plus

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Autosport went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021