Hyundai Motorsport has shown encouraging pace on the opening day of Rally Argentina, round four of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with two New Generation i20 WRC cars inside the top-five.
Hayden Paddon is leading the Hyundai Motorsport charge in third place, just over 11.4 seconds from the rally lead, with Dani Sordo close behind in fifth. All three driver crews have registered a stage win already this weekend with Sordo setting the pace in Thursday evening’s Super Special, Thierry Neuville top of the timesheets in SS5 and Paddon taking honours in SS6 (Soconcho / Villa del Dique II).
Kiwi driver Paddon and co-driver John Kennard (#20 New Generation i20 WRC) have been at the sharp end of the action throughout Friday’s eight stages, taking four top-two results in addition to their SS6 stage win – in just their second participation in Rally Argentina with Hyundai Motorsport.
Paddon commented: “I’m really happy with the way things have gone today. The car was working pretty well from the first stage this morning, although I felt my driving was a bit messy in places. I made too many mistakes so my aim for the afternoon was to tidy things up. The roads were in better condition than we expected on the second loop and we were able to find some improvements. Our pace notes were good and it was fun. There was a slight issue with the rear damper in SS8 but nothing that massively affected us. There’s still a long way to go, but we’ve stayed in touch and tomorrow’s my favourite day of the rally.”
Saturday’s itinerary consists of six special stages, a repeat loop of three stages: Villa Bustos-Tanti, Los Gigantes – Cantera El Condor and Boca del Arroyo – Bajo del Pungo. Drivers will negotiate almost 160km of unforgiving Argentinian stages in front of a passionate crowd of fans – with everything still wide open.
Overall Classification after Day One
J. M. Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 1:26:31.3
S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +7.9
H. Paddon / J. Kennard (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +11.4
A. Mikkelsen / A. Jaeger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +25.7
D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +49.0
M. Østberg / O. Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:07.9
H. Solberg / I. Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:04.4
E. Camilli / B. Veillas (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:33.8
M. Ligato / R. Garcia (Citroën DS3 WRC) +6:05.1
T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC) +7:34.4