samedi 23 avril 2016

WRC (Rally Argentina): Paddon leads after Latvala crash


New Zealander Hayden Paddon (Hyundai/Michelin) tops the provisional order in Argentina tonight following the elimination of Latvala (VW/Michelin). Sébastien Ogier (VW/Michelin) is second this evening, but only 29.8s adrift and he knows tomorrow’s stages by heart, which points to a thrilling finale on Sunday. In WRC2, Nicolas Fuchs (Skoda/Michelin) is in command after a mistake by Al-Kuwari.
Jari-Matti Latvala’s hopes of claiming two wins in a row were dashed 21km into this afternoon’s SS14 when the VW/Michelin driver crashed while leading, shortly after adding two more fastest times to his tally.
As in 2015 (Meeke), there is a chance that Rally Argentina will produce a new WRC winner, since Hayden Paddon (Hyundai/Michelin) is only 55.28 competitive kilometres off a possible maiden world class victory.
The four-time world champion Sébastien Ogier (VW/Michelin) hasn’t said his final word, however.
Handicapped by his road order, the Frenchman lost considerable ground this morning but succeeded in cutting his overnight deficit to just 29.8s, and he has good knowledge of the last day’s stages, namely two visits to ‘El Condor-Copina’ (16.72 km) and a single attempt at ‘Mina Clavero-Giulio Cesare’ (22.64km), two twisty tests high in the Traslasierras Mountains which could well turn out to be the roughest of the 2016 world championship.
Another battle that is poised to be settled on the last day is the one for third place. The podium’s last step is currently occupied by Andreas Mikkelsen (VW/Michelin) who is only 14.5s short of Ogier, while fourth-placed Dani Sordo (Hyundai/Michelin) is a mere 17.7s behind the Norwegian!
Mads Ostberg (Ford/Michelin) looks a safe fifth, but there’s a good scrap raging in his wake for sixth spot between Marcos Ligato (Citroën/Michelin), Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin) and Henning Solberg (Ford/Michelin) who are covered by less than five seconds this evening!
There was drama in WRC2 today, too, when Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (Skoda/Michelin) rolled out of a comfortable lead on SS13. The Qatari was able to continue, but the class’s lead is now in the hands of Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs (Skoda/Michelin), ahead of Hubert Ptaszek (Peugeot/Michelin).

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