Hyundai driver Dani Sordo clinched fastest time on the Rally Argentina shakedown stage. The Spaniard – only confirmed in a factory i20 WRC for Argentina after his strong showing on the previous round in Portugal – was fourth tenths of a second faster than M-Sport man Mikko Hirvonen.
Sordo’s quickest time came on his fourth and final run on the 2.8-mile stage close to rally headquarters in Villa Carlos Paz. The Spaniard, Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans were the only factory drivers to set four times on the test, the rest of the field electing to save their tyres in the face of unseasonably warm weather.
“The time was good, we had no problems, but this is just shakedown,” said Sordo. “For us, it’s important that we get the car to the finish for the team.”
Hirvonen admitted the extra use of his soft Michelins did concern him, but seat time was more important ahead of the South American round.
“I haven’t been in the car for a while and it was important for me to get some time,” he said. “That’s why we did the extra runs.”
Jari-Matti Latvala was fastest Volkwagen runner in third with Sordo’s teammate Thierry Neuville fourth fastest, one place ahead of reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier. The Frenchman was fastest of the drivers only completing the regulation two passes of the stage.
The event proper gets underway with a superspecial on the outskirts of town on Thursday evening.
Leading shakedown times:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Dani Sordo Hyundai 2m31.3s 2. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +0.4s 3. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +0.7s 4. Thierry Neuville Hyundai +1.0s 5. Sebastien Ogier VW +1.2s 6. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +1.3s 7. Mads Ostberg Citroen +1.8s 8. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +2.4s 9. Robert Kubica M-Sport Ford +2.6s 10. Kris Meeke Citroen +3.6s