The rough stages that made up day two of the 2015 XION Rally Argentina, round four of the FIA World Rally Championship, lived up to the pre-event hype as the rough terrain caused issues for a number of crews. At the end of the leg Citroen‘s, Kris Meeke and his Irish co-driver Paul Nagle hold a lead of over a minute from team-mates Mads Ostberg and Jonas Anderson.
The first test of the day was the gruelling 52 km ‘Agua de Oro – Ascochinga’ stage and it would prove to be one of the most drama filled stages of the day. A number of high profile drivers fell victim to it the biggest one being the championship leader Sebastien Ogier.
The Frenchman pulled off the road after 45km with a suspected engine problem. Ostberg also suffered an engine issue but managed to finish the stage while Andreas Mikkelsen suffered a puncture after a high speed spin.
Despite suffering a broken handbrake in the stage Meeke won the test by 31.9 seconds from Hyundai’s Dani Sordo with Jari-Matti Latvala in third.
A puncture on stage three hindered Meeke’s progress and he finished the test fifth fastest. Latvala took full advantage by setting the fastest time and slashed the Citroen driver’s lead to 15.3 seconds and moved into second place in the process. Sordo suffered power steering issues and dropped to sixth while Mikkelsen suffered suspension issues and plummeted down the order.
On the following stage Meeke extended his lead on Latvala but on stage five the Finnish driver was to suffer transmission issues and lost 25 seconds.
The final test of the day was the Fernet Branca Super Special stage which saw Sordo set the fastest time to make up for his earlier problems. Ostberg was second with rally leader Meeke fourth fastest.
‘I’m really not thinking about the result – seriously,’ said Meeke. ‘I came here determined to drive my own rally and focus on a clean run, and that could scarcely be a harder task, given the state of the stages in some places. However, even being in the lead, I’ve just got blinkers on and I’m driving my own rally.
“For me, tomorrow will be an even tougher day than today, and the long stage will be exceptionally difficult.’
Latvala ended a miserable day for Volkswagen 19th fastest time.
65 km over four stages is what greets competitors tomorrow and day three of Rally Argentina.