Latvala Leads After First Day In Argentina

Jari-Matti Latvala leads Rally Argentina by 18.2 seconds over Petter Solberg at the end of the first day's stages.

The Finnish Ford driver moved into the lead of the rally by winning the first proper stage of the event after Sebastien Loeb had won the superspecial opener on Thursday evening. He won the following two stages to hold a 12.3s lead over privateer Citroen driver Solberg at midday service.

Latvala won the first stage of the afternoon to increase his advantage to 13.9s, and although Solberg took his 400th WRC stage win on SS6 to trim the gap to 12.1s, Latvala was 6.1s quicker than the Norwegian on the final stage of the day to extend his lead to 18.2s.

Sebastien Ogier is in third place for Citroen, a spin on SS5 leaving him nearly half a minute down by the end of the day. He is 15 seconds ahead of Latvala's teammate Mikko Hirvonen. Loeb separated the pair after the morning loop but was handed a one minute time penalty after checking in early to midday service. Despite winning the final stage of the day, the championship leader is a minute and a half down on Latvala.

The M-Sport Stobart Fords of Mads Ostberg and Matthew Wilson are sixth and seventh, with local star Federico Villagra eighth in the Munchi's Ford. Ken Block is ninth in the Monster Ford. Hayden Paddon moved into the PWRC lead and 10th place overall on the final stage of the day after previous leader Patrik Flodin and second-placed man Michal Kosciuszko failed to complete the day.

Top ten positions after SS7:

Pos No Driver Team Car Time/Gap
1. 4 Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi Ford Fiesta RS WRC 1:48:59.7
2. 11 Petter Solberg PSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC +18.2
3. 2 Sebastien Ogier Citroen Total Citroen DS3 WRC +28.8
4. 3 Mikko Hirvonen Ford Abu Dhabi Ford Fiesta RS WRC +43.5
5. 1 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Citroen DS3 WRC +1:30.3
6. 6 Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2:55.2
7. 5 Matthew Wilson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3:27.4
8. 7 Federico Villagra Munchi’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3:40.9
9. 43 Ken Block Monster Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6:04.8
10. 38 Hayden Paddon New Zealand WRT Subaru Impreza +11:49.6