Volkswagen Motorsport suffered a dramatic change in fortunes on day 2 of the XION Rally Argentina 2015, round four of the FIA World Rally Championship. All three crews suffered issues over the course of the leg.
The first to fall victim to the Argentine stages was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who pulled off the road on SS2 two with an engine problem bringing to an end a dominant start to the season for the Frenchman.
“Everything was running completely as usual until the start of the morning’s first stage. Then – after just ten kilometres – we suddenly had a drastic loss of power. And the engine did not sound as good as usual.
“Seven kilometres from the end of the stage we had to stop and park the car up. It is obviously a shame to miss out on the chance to win here.
Andreas Mikkelsen also had a difficult day as a puncture early on in the day was followed by suspension damage later on the stages. He ended the day in 29th overall.
“Today was definitely not our day. ‘Standard’ tyre damage turned out to be the biggest possible setback. Hindsight is a wonderful thing: but it would have been better if we had changed the flat tyre straight away.
“The tyre came away from the rim, the many blows damaged the damper and then it ended up being useless on the next stage because it was no longer absorbing anything. On top of this massive blow, the servo pump also broke. Our mechanics did a fantastic job; they practically built a new car in 30 minutes, but couldn’t keep it in the race. I feel really sorry for them.
Jari-Matti Latvala was the driver the fared best today although it was not without its drama. The Finnish driver won stage three and went second fastest on stage four to close within 28 seconds of leader Kris Meeke however transmission issues cost Latvala almost a minute and dropped him to third by the end of the day.
“What an eventful day of rallying. Not just for me, but for the entire team. The conditions were – as we expected – extremely tough for man and machine. As far as the tactics are concerned, I tried not to push too hard from the start. And that worked well. We had a problem with the power train on the fifth special stage. After that we didn’t really have proper drive and that meant we lost almost a minute to Kris Meeke.”
Crews will tackle four more stages on leg three of Rally Argentina.