Day one, it was as hard as they said it would be
Mikko Hirvonen, Mads Ostberg, Ott Tanak, Dani Sordo… some of those drivers managed to survive the first day of Rally Argentina but with huge time penalties, some are still waiting to see if their cars can be fixed and some crashed out in a proper fashion. The worst crash happened to Ott Tanak, luckily crew escaped injuries. Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg tumbled out of the event on the first special stage of the day, confirming that this was supposed to be the toughest test of the lot this year. Dani Sordo also suffered on SS2, a broken turbo pipe costing him a lot of time, only to retire on the last stage due to a damaged exhaust manifold.
Similar to how Citroën dominated Argentina over the last god-knows-how-many-years, Volkswagen took full control of the event once Hirvonen and Ostberg crashed out of the first stage of the day. But even though Volkswagen are firmly in control, the rally is still far from over. Tomorrow it’s 4×39 kilometers and then a superspecial – and Jari-Matti Latvala only has 17.7 seconds lead ahead of Sebastien Ogier, and we can safely assume there will be no team orders of any kind in the German team. Kris Meeke did well on his promise to take it steady this time around, and he currently lies in third place after the demise of Andreas Mikkelsen who will be rally2 tomorrow.
It is still unclear whether rally2 is an option for Mikko Hirvonen, the M-Sport mechanics are still working on the car. Mikko is hoping for a chance to return to competition, but as he said, it was a pretty heavy hit on the rear corner of the car.
Meanwhile, Elfyn Evans and Robert Kubica are separated by 2 tenths and are currently in 4th (EE) and 5th place (RK). Come on, noobs, entertain us in case Volkswagen duo decides to play it safe (which I am sure they won’t)! Just kidding, keep ’em on the road, boys, plenty of kilometers to go.