Latvala Fastest in Rally Argentina Shakedown

Jari-Matti Latvala was quickest in the YPF Rally Argentina Shakedown suggesting that Toyota has the pace to challenge on gravel.

Latvala’s time of 4 minutes 2 seconds meant he was only 0.1 seconds quicker than last year’s winner Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon with team-mate Dani Sordo a further 0.1 seconds back.

Thierry Neuville made it three Hyundais in the top four as he set a time of 4 minutes 2.6 seconds, which was 0.4 seconds quicker than championship leader Sébastien Ogier in fifth spot.

Toyota came into the event with question marks regarding the Yaris WRC performance on gravel due to the car being severely affect by the altitude in Mexico.

Latvala’s time shows that the car is on the pace compared to its rivals, although Hyundai’s lock out of the next three places will concern their rivals.

Mads Ostberg in his privately entered M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC was a promising sixth fastest followed by the two Citroen C3 WRCs of Kris Meeke and Craig Breen.

The WRC runners was rounded off by M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans, the Welshman recording a 4 minutes 6.8 second time, 4.8 seconds off Latvala’s time in what was a very tight shakedown session.

In WRC2, Pontus Tidemand was comfortably fastest in his Factory-run Skoda Fabia R5.

The Swede set a time of 4 minutes 20.5 seconds, which was 5.2 seconds quicker than his closest rival, Paraguayan Skoda driver Gustavo Saba, with Poland’s Hubert Ptaszek just two seconds further back in third.