Face off - Ogier & Loeb ? | Full Action Day-2, at Rally Argentina - 2013

After the quick flick SSS yesterday, VW Polo R WRC driver Sebastien Ogier enjoyed a slender lead of about 2 secs. Sebastien Loeb was perhaps still settling in his break from the routine attack mode that he enjoyed over a decade, and was about 2.2 secs down his younger compatriot. Perhaps it was Dani Sordo, who was the surprise package, despite the spectacular roll he had in the road show early this week. He was 1.9 secs down the leader and quicker than the nine-timer.

Day 2 was the day to tackle with just four special stages, but it had the marathon stage [51.88 km] that had to be passed twice which by itself was a tremendous challenge to the crews & technicians alike. Weather was pretty cloudy and some drizzle at places, making the stages even more treacherous. The first stage of the day was tackled with much care and was a no drama for anyone. Ogier again topped the charts, the Flying Finn's Latvala and Mikko were about 6 secs down, but the surprise came from Loeb who was slower by 8.5 secs. Mads, Andreas, Dani and others followed suit.

But the second and bigger one the SS3 Ascochinga / Agua de Oro 1 [51.88km], that proved costly to Dani Sordo who rolled his Citroen DS3 WRC and lost over 7 minutes in the stage. Ogier was caught in the dust of the Spaniard's crawling DS3, and was initially furious at the end of the stage. However Ogier understood the situation, as Dani explained that he didn't know about his follow.

After the mid-day service & break, the crews resumed with new set of [mostly softer compound] tires as the stages were getting much wetter. In the repetition of the morning's loop of two stages, bad-luck hit the Qatar M-Sport's Ford Fiesta WRC driver Mads Ostberg in SS4. He was forced to retire after he hit a stone and damaging the steering link, along with driveshaft.

The 51.88 km, brutal SS5 [covered with fog and low clouds] was yet another major obstacle that demanded utmost respect to complete the day unscathed. However, it was the Czech rally star driver Martin Prokop, who fell prey to the longest running stage of the rally and rolled his Ford Fiesta RS WRC, although managed to complete the stage with huge time penalty. Sebastien Ogier finished the stage with the fastest time.

At the end of the day's action, Ogier leads, while his team-mate Latvala had his share of gremlins, after he realised that there was no handbrake left in his VW Polo R WRC finished 4th overall down by 40s. Loeb finished in second overall with a fractoin over 16 secs gap, while his team-mate Mikko is about 18s to the leader. They both had hard compound tires on all 4 wheels, and hence lost precious time in the long run. Evgeny, Andreas and Thierry finished the stages without too much drama, but at the expense of time.

Leaderboard at the end of the day, Top 10 :
1.8S. OGIER1:57:
2.1S. LOEB1:57:30.4+16.3+16.3
3.2M. HIRVONEN1:57:32.2+1.8+18.1
4.7J. LATVALA1:57:54.8+22.6+40.7
5.5E. NOVIKOV1:58:51.8+57.0+1:37.7
6.9A. MIKKELSEN1:59:09.2+17.4+1:55.1
7.11T. NEUVILLE1:59:26.6+17.4+2:12.5
8.21M. PROKOP2:03:55.5+4:28.9+6:41.4
9.23G. POZZO2:07:24.4+3:28.9+10:10.3
10.10D. SORDO2:07:46.7+22.3+10:32.6

That's it for today, see you tomorrow. Stay Tuned !!

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