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Latvala cracks Rally Argentina victory

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Monday 12th May, 2014 - 6:49am

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Latvala was unstoppable in Argentina

Latvala was unstoppable in Argentina

Jari-Matti Latvala has won his second World Rally Championship event of the year with victory at Rally Argentina.

The Finn headed Volkswagen team-mate, and world champion, Sebastien Ogier by 1min 26.9sec. It was VW’s ninth consecutive WRC victory, breaking the record held by Citroen.

Kris Meeke claimed his second podium of the season in a Citroen DS3. The Northern Irishman completed the four-day event, round five of the FIA World Rally Championship, 5min 54.7sec behind Latvala in third.

“Last year I finished on the podium but I couldn’t dream to win here, it’s something special,” said Latvala.

“I crashed in Portugal and there was a risk my self-confidence was down. If Ogier won, there was a chance the championship could become boring, but now we keep it alive.”

The duo enjoyed a see-saw battle on Friday which ended with Latvala on top. He dominated Saturday’s leg while Ogier had tyre and overheating issues, and started the final day with a 31.0sec advantage.

Conditions in the final leg were treacherous with thick fog and deep mud in the classic El Condor and Giulio Cesare stages. Ogier refused to chase Latvala and the gap widened by almost a minute through the four stages covering 76.78km.

Ogier claimed maximum points in the Power Stage and now heads Latvala in the championship standings by 24 points.

Andreas Mikkelsen endured a scare when his alternator’s warning light flashed on at the end of the final stage. A broken alternator belt forced him to retire on Friday, but this time he made it back to the Villa Carlos Paz finish with no further dramas as he finished fourth.

Thierry Neuville broke a driveshaft on his Hyundai i20 early in the final stage but came home in fifth ahead of Robert Kubica. After a crash-plagued season, Kubica promised to sacrifice some speed and his tactics paid dividends.

Elfyn Evans was seventh on his Argentine debut ahead of the similar Ford Fiesta RS of Martin Prokop. Three stage wins in the final day propelled Mikko Hirvonen into ninth and WRC 2 winner Nasser Al-Attiyah rounded off the top 10.

The championship returns to Europe for round six when the Mediterranean island of Sardinia hosts Rally Italia Sardegna on 6 – 8 June.

VIDEO: Highlights of the final day in Argentina

 

 

FINAL POSITIONS: Rally Argentina 

Position Driver            Team/Car      Time/Gap
1 Jari-Matti Latvala VW 4h41m24.8s
2 Sebastien Ogier VW +1m26.9s
3 Kris Meeke Citroen +5m54.7s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen VW +6m18.3s
5 Thierry Neuville Hyundai +8m25.8s
6 Robert Kubica M-Sport Ford +10m08.0s
7 Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +10m32.2s
8 Martin Prokop Czech Ford +12m03.9s
9 Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +19m54.8s
10 Nasser Al-Attiyah M-Sport Ford +23m10.2s*

* WRC2

 

2014 FIA DRIVERS´ STANDINGS

Pos Driver Total
1 Sebastien Ogier 112
 2 Jari-Matti Latvala 88
 3 Mads Ostberg 48
 4 Andreas Mikkelsen 48
 5 Mikko Hirvonen 40
 6 Kris Meeke 32
 7 Thierry Neuville 31
 8 Elfyn Evans 26
 9 Martin Prokop 22
 10 Bryan Bouffier 18
 11 Robert Kubica 16
 12 Henning Solberg 16
 13 Ott Tanak 10
 14 Benito Guerra Latapi 8
 15 Chris Atkinson 6
 16 Pontus Tidemand 4
 17 Juho Hanninen 4
 18 Jaroslav Melicharek 4
 19 Nasser Al-Attiyah 3
 20 Matteo Gamba 2
 21 Craig Breen 2
 22 Yuriy Protasov 2
 23 Jari Ketomaa 1

 

2014 FIA TEAMS´ STANDINGS
Pos Teams Total
 1 Volkswagen Motorsport 187
 2 Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 90
 3 M-Sport World Rally Team 68
 4 Hyundai Shell World Rally Team 55
 5 Volkswagen Motorsport II 52
 6 Jipocar Czech National Team 24
 7 RK M-Sport World Rally Team 12

 

 

 

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