Thierry Neuville has grabbed his second straight victory of the current WRC season after winning Rally Argentina 2017 today. The Hyundai i20 WRC driver is now in a strong third place on the standings with 54 points. Sebastien Ogier leads the championship with 88 points ahead of Jari Matti Latvala with 75 points.
Elfyn Evans finished second today in a Ford Fiesta WRC, just 0.7s after Neuville, the Ford driver led nearly throughout the entire rally. Ott Tanak made it a double podium for the M-Sport Ford team by finishing third in the other Fiesta WRC. Championship leader Ogier finished fourth in yet another Ford, strengthening the team’s position as the championship leaders.
Neuville was so on point he also won the TV Power Stage grabbing all five points. Evans was second and good for four points leading Tanak, Ogier and Latvala.
Ogier kicked off the rally by winning SS1 although the Frenchman did admit that he wasn’t happy with his driving. Evans was the man to beat in the early stages of Friday morning after he won both SS2/3. Meeke was his closest rival coming in second while Toyota Yaris WRC slotted in third. Ogier overshot a corner and damaged part of his aero while eventual rally winner, Neuville, finished sixth with a troubled front right damper.
Evans continued to dominate through SS4/5 rallying across the Calamuchita Valley. The Ford driver won both stages beating Latvala and Mads Ostberg. After running strong in the opening stages, Meeke retired in Santa Rosa after misjudging a bump and launching his car into the wild. His fellow Citroen C3 driver Craig Breen also retired after this stage with transmission problems.
Holding first position through the next two stages, Evans won SS6/7 but Ostberg managed to jump into second dropping Latvala into third. Neuville was still battling problems in his Hyundai i20, mainly overheating, something that Latvala was familiar with in the same San Agustin stage.
Neuville managed to make a comeback on SS10 after catching up with Evans whose lead was now over a minute. Ogier on the other hand was further down in sixth, The SS12 stage from Los Gigantes to Cantera El saw things turn around when Evans suffered a slow puncture allowing Neuville to catch up properly. Ostberg remained third while Tanak led Ogier to complete the top five.
Tanak dominated SS13 after winning the speed test of Tanti to Villa Bustos, he was able to climb into third place behind Neuville. He also set the quickest time on SS16 on Sunday morning, though the stage win went to Neuville who managed to trim down Evans lead to 9s. The final dash to the finish line was an epic battle between the two drivers allowing Neuville to claim his second consecutive victory of the season.
Rally of Portugal is the next round on the calendar scheduled for May 21.