After a thrilling three days, it is Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville who wins Rally Argentina by a whisker and denying the Elfyn Evans his maiden WRC victory. Elfyn Evans had a brilliant start to the weekend, but went in to the final stage of the weekend 0.6 seconds ahead of Neuville. Neuville managed to put in a superior time in this and won the rally by 0.7 seconds. Evans finished second followed by Ott Tanak in third.
Ogier won the Super Special Stage on Thursday, however he wouldn’t stay at the top for long. Evans dominated proceedings on Friday morning, winning three stages, thanks to the new DMACK tyres he was using. Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo were able to keep on Evan’s tail, but both ran into trouble during the day. Sordo lost 11 mintues fixing a broken steering arm, while Meeke rolled his Citroen after he hit a bump during a stage. Latvala had trouble with his aero but managed to find himself in second after Meeke and Sordo dropped down the order, and Ogier went into a ditch during a stage and lost time. Neuville meanwhile, was 48 seconds off the leader in sixth. Evans kept his pace up through the day, and kept pulling out a lead in the front. Meanwhile Latvala’s car started overheating and he lost time as well. The day ended with Evans on top, followed by his teammate Mads Ostberg and Neuville in third.
Neuville had slowly been climbing up the standings and made it to third by the end of Friday, and managed to pip Ostberg as well on Saturday — a hydraulic failure for Otsberg forced him to drop a place. Evans was in the lead, but he too began encountering trouble. He first picked up a slow puncture, and then damaged another tyre later in the day causing the gap between him and Neuville to fall. Ogier didn’t manage to do much, and dropped down to fifth behind his teammate Ott Tanak. Evans’ woes continued as he lost his diffuser and consequently 15.1 seconds to Neuville on a stage. On the final stage of the day, Evans lost more time after he spun, reducing the gap between him and Neuville to just 11.5 seconds.
Neuville was consistently faster than Evans on the final day, by a couple of seconds in the beginning and finally by 8 seconds on last stage. Just 0.7 seconds behind Evans heading in to the Power stage, Neuville was unstoppable and pipped Evans of the win right at the very end.
The wins means Neuville is the first driver to win two rallies this season, however he is still only third in the championship standings. Ogier who finished fourth in Argentina still leads the standings, followed by Jari-Matti Latvala.