Sebastien Loeb has taken an unlikely victory on Rally Argentina, snatching the win from Citroen teammate Sebastien Ogier on the final stage after the younger Frenchman rolled his car earlier on the final day.
Ogier entered the final day with a 43.7 second lead over Mikko Hirvonen, with Loeb just four seconds behind as he recovered from a one minute penalty handed to him on Friday for checking in early to service.
However, Ogier rolled his car towards the end of the final day's opening stage, SS16. Loeb meanwhile won the stage to move into second past Hirvonen and close the gap to Ogier to 21.5s. Ogier had made it to the end of the stage, but would be without power steering for the three remaining stages.
Loeb trimmed the gap to Ogier to 12.8s on SS17, the first run through the 3.9km Cabalango stage. After SS18, a run through the Carlos Paz superspecial, Ogier's lead stood at just 3.3 seconds with just a second run through the Cabalango stage to go.
Ogier finished the power stage 10.6s slower than Loeb, dropping to third behind both Loeb and Hirvonen, with the Finn finishing up just 2.4s behind Loeb.
Petter Solberg finished fourth in his privately-entered Citroen, after a power steering failure on Saturday's final stage kept him out of the victory battle. The Norwegian picked up three bonus points for winning the power stage.
Mads Ostberg finished a quiet fifth for M-Sport Stobart, ahead of local star Federico Villagra in the Munchi's Ford. Jari-Matti Latvala, who led the rally until a broken compression strut forced him into retirement on Saturday afternoon, restarted on Sunday morning in eighth place, moving up into seventh when Matthew Wilson's engine cut out after a watersplash on SS16.
Hayden Paddon won the Production category in ninth overall, with Patrik Flodin finishing tenth overall and second in PWRC despite failing to make it to the final stage on Friday.
Loeb's win stretches his lead over Hirvonen in the drivers' standings to 14 points, with Ogier a further 16 behind. The next event is the Acropolis Rally of Greece on 16-19 June.
Final top ten results after SS19:
|1.||1||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen Total||Citroen DS3 WRC||4:03:56.9|
|2.||3||Mikko Hirvonen||Ford Abu Dhabi||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+2.4|
|3.||2||Sebastien Ogier||Citroen Total||Citroen DS3 WRC||+7.3|
|4.||11||Petter Solberg||PSWRT||Citroen DS3 WRC||+32.6|
|5.||6||Mads Ostberg||M-Sport Stobart||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+5:16.8|
|6.||7||Federico Villagra||Munchi's||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+6:48.5|
|7.||4||Jari-Matti Latvala||Ford Abu Dhabi||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+11:34.5|
|8.||5||Matthew Wilson||M-Sport Stobart||Ford Fiesta RS WRC||+13:32.7|
|9.||38||Hayden Paddon||New Zealand WRT||Subaru Impreza||+25:43.8|
|10.||21||Patrik Flodin||Uspenskiy||Subaru Impreza||+33:34.1|