The FIA World Rally Championship returned to competitive action last night as the 2016 Rally Argentina got under way through the streets of Cordoba city, on a 1.50km asphalt test.
It was Volkwagen Motorsport‘s Sébastien Ogier and the Hyundai driver Dani Sordo that set an identical time through the stage to top the time sheets, Ogier admitted afterwards that he believes he could have been faster if it was not for a small mistake.
“I lost a good second with a mistake after the jump,” said Ogier. “It was great to be here tonight, there were a lot of people and it was a good atmosphere. The stage was spectacular and it was good to be equal fastest, but things really start tomorrow.”
Ott Tänak showed promise as he set the third fastest time ahead of the two Hyundai i20’s of Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon. Lorenzo Bertelli impressed as he lead home a trio of Ford Fiesta RS WRC’s with Mads Østberg and Eric Camilli, who was suffering with launch control problems, in seventh and eighth respectively.
Nicolás Fuchs set the pace for the WRC2 class as he finished the stage in ninth place in his Škoda Fabia R5 ahead of the Ford Fiesta R5 of Elfyn Evans and the Škoda Fabia R5 of Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari.
Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala finished the test in an uncharacteristic eleventh and twelfth place after both experiencing mistakes at a junction. Argentinian hopeful Marcos Ligato had a frustrating start to the rally as he stalled his Citroën DS3 WRC, leaving him languishing in sixteenth position.