Ogier grabs the lead in Argentina

The battle of the Sebs - Loeb and Ogier is on in Argentina

The battle of the Sebs – Loeb and Ogier is on in Argentina

Sebastien Ogier has once again started in the right fashion on a World Rally Championship event, leading the Rally Argentina after the opening super stage in Carlos Paz.

The Volkswagen driver, and current championship leader, won the only stage of the day to be 1.9 seconds ahead of the Citroen of Dani Sordo.

Ogier was paired with nine-time World Champion Sebastien Loeb, who is returning this weekend after racing in the World GT Series, in the side-by-side stage. Ogier outgunned his fellow Frenchman’s Citroen DS3 to claim the first bragging rights.

“It was a nice feeling but the rally starts tomorrow,” said Ogier.

“This was really fun and nice for the spectators.”

Loeb was third fastest in his first gravel stage since the opening day of Rally de Espana last November and paid tribute to his rival.

“Ogier was really fast. I did a lot of mistakes; usually I don’t do so many. It’s a great atmosphere here in Argentina. We will try to do a good rally and try to find a rhythm,” he said.

Qualifying stage winner Jari-Matti Latvala was fourth in his Polo R, edging out fellow Finn Mikko Hirvonen’s Citroen DS3.

Latvala has chosen to start last in the seeded drivers after his fast time in qualifying. This will give him the cleaner line, but with a threat of rain it could back-fire on the Finn.

“There is some talk about some rain,” said Latvala, “but I don’t think it will be much if it comes.

“I think the conditions will clean. In the past, in the dry conditions, I have gone first on the road – like I did in Sardinia – and it was not so good.”

Evgeny Novikov did choose to start first and aim for the rain to make its mark.

The first true day of competition features just four stages, but they total just under 158 competitive kilometres including two runs over the 51.88km Ascochinga / Agua de Oro stage.

RESULTS: SS1 – Rally Argentina 

Position Driver Car Time
1 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Polo R WRC 4:42.1
2 Dani Sordo Citroen DS3 WRC +0:01.9
3 Sebastien Loeb Citroen DS3 WRC +0:02.2
4 Jai-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Polo R WRC +0:03.8
5 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Polo R WRC +0:03.9
6 Mikko Hirvonen Citroen DS3 WRC +0:04.2
7 Mads Ostberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0:05.3
8 Thierry Neauville Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0:06.0
9 Evgeny Novikov Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0:07.5
10 Michał Kościuszko John Cooper Works MINI WRC +0:13.4


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