Grande Seb.Loeb Wins His Last Outing On Gravel - Rally Argentina, 2013

In a final stand off between the two Frenchmen, it was the veteran who snatched the win!

Sebastien Loeb would be both nostalgic and happy with his last outing [on gravel] in his decade long career into the sport. He took to the top step on the podium today at Villa Carlos Paz, Cordoba - Argentina.

The day opened with the SS11, Mina Clavero - Giulio Cesare [22.64km] stage, in which both the Sebs decided to 'Keep Calm and Rally On' mode in practice and were more interested in keeping their positions intact rather than risking it to the distant low-runners. Similar strategy involved in the second stage, the pre-run of the Power Stage - SS14, El Condor-Copina, [16.32km].

However, Jari-Matti Latvala went into a stage winning frenzy to claim all the stages of the day, including the Power Stage. Laudable performance by the younger Finn.

Sebastien Ogier who was into careful and no-nonsense driving since morning, opened up for the extra points which were at disposal and took away the two points in his second place finish. Mikko Hirvonen followed and managed with the final single point for being third quickest. Senior Loeb kept his lead and took the overall victory.

Top 10 - Final Results

1.1S. LOEB4:35:
2.8S. OGIER4:36:51.7+55.0+55.0
3.7J. LATVALA4:37:57.5+1:05.8+2:00.8
4.5E. NOVIKOV4:38:33.4+35.9+2:36.7
5.11T. NEUVILLE4:40:37.2+2:03.8+4:40.5
6.2M. HIRVONEN4:42:20.6+1:43.4+6:23.9
7.4M. OSTBERG4:46:58.9+4:38.3+11:02.2
9.10D. SORDO4:49:19.0+0.2+13:22.3
10.21M. PROKOP4:50:04.3+45.3+14:07.6
Read more ...

Dramatic twist in the Leadership - Seb.Loeb is no.1 @ Philips LED Rally Argentina - 2013

Starting the day, Seb.Ogier was in a healthy distance of over 17s and also won the opening stage of the day - SS6 Santa Rosa - Villa del Dique 1 [40.69km].

However, he lost his lead after going off, straight off a corner and lost over 40s. This elevated the senior - Seb.Loeb to the top position and also his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to second overall by the end of SS7 - Amboy - Yacanto 1 [39.16km].

Frustrated Ogier explained, “We went straight on at a long corner,” as told to WRC Live. “The road tightened but we understeered on to mud and had to reverse out. The handbrake didn’t work again to save me.” A broken windscreen was the cost he paid, with other minor cosmetic damages.

Loeb was second-quickest in SS7 and confessed to have had a lucky escape for mistake himself. “I went wide like I did on the earlier stage but this time it cost me only about one second,” he said. “It’s tricky, eh? Very fast, the grip is good then suddenly it’s gone, watersplashes after the crests - it’s difficult.” 

After the mid-day service, and lunch break the cars resumed to repeat the morning loop of stages once again. Winning the SS8 was a good motivation that Loeb experienced, and Ogier finished quickly although with a front left puncture towards the stage end, down by 3.4s. Mikko loses his second place, puncture he told.

Andreas Mikkelsen retired from the day's action after he crashed onto a bridge, that resulted with too much damage to his VW Polo R WRC.

SS9 was the most dramatic stage of the day, maybe even of the entire rally. Almost everybody in the top 5 had issues, and it was Loeb who came clean and fastest. He extended his lead to a little over 40s to regroup in for the second and last SSS10.

Mikko, Latvala had stopped in stage, later the Finns managed to finished the stage. Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC boys were playing tactics with the roughest stage of the day and Novikov climbed to third after Mikko slipped to 6th.

Top 10 results - Overall after SS9

1.1S. LOEB3:27:
2.8S. OGIER3:28:05.3+40.3+40.3
3.5E. NOVIKOV3:30:04.5+1:59.2+2:39.5
4.7J. LATVALA3:30:18.0+13.5+2:53.0
5.11T. NEUVILLE3:30:56.1+38.1+3:31.1
6.2M. HIRVONEN3:34:06.9+3:10.8+6:41.9
7.4M. OSTBERG3:38:05.1+3:58.2+10:40.1
8.21M. PROKOP3:39:24.2+1:19.1+11:59.2
9.10D. SORDO3:40:26.1+1:01.9+13:01.1
10.23G. POZZO3:41:55.2+1:29.1+14:30.2

With one super special stage pending to end the day tonight, 3 stages and a power stage is all left for tomorrow's Ultimate Stand-off for the Super Sebs'. Till tomorrow, ciao!
Read more ...

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 !!
Read more ...

Philips LED Rally Argentina, WRC, Round 5 - is ON !!

Philips LED Rally Argentina, the 5th round in the 2013 calendar for World Rally Championship is all set and a go! It was hosted as a round of the WRC first in 1980, and is cited as one of the toughest events of the WRC trails.

Rally HQ will be based at Villa Carlos Paz, north to the national capital Buenos Aires. The rally is best known for the jumps, water splashes the stages offer, and the lunar landscape of the high altitude El Condor stage, which also happens for the Power Stage on its last run this rally.

The surface is pretty much sandy, that also increases the risk of punctures with the rocks being pulled onto the road by the passage of competing cars. Ruts are definitely expected as the road surface is softer, with second or more passes, more ruttier the stages is going to be become.

Tens of thousands of fans who line the route, and are considered some of the most enthusiastic rally folks on the planet. This was proved today, as the Qualifying stage run was almost jam-packed, and the organisers had to stop the stage in middle of the heat to control the crowd, as Mads Ostberg explained, "Too many spectators in wrong places on Qualifying, so stage is stopped. If I had followed only my pace notes, I would have hit someone!"

A total of 14 stages round up the event over a span of three days, starting with the opening super special stage later today. by Volkswagen Motorsport
Day 1 - The real actions begins early tomorrow, Thursday - 2nd May with the Sta. Catalina / La Pampa 1 stage, quickly followed by the marathon stage of Ascochinga / Agua de Oro 1. With a quick mid-day service, the action returns to a second run of the morning stages to end the day back at the Rally HQ.
Day 2 - Again two more stages Santa Rosa - Villa del Dique and Amboy - Yacanto, that are run twice with a service break in between the repetitions, and the day ends with the second super special stage.
Day 3 - Final day has Mina Clavero - Giulio Cesare and El Condor - Copina stages that are going to be repeated, but the latter stage will be the final Power Stage to conclude the rally back at Villa Carlos Paz.

In the Qualifying stage held today, the VW Polo R WRC driver Jari-Matti Latvala goes fastest, while the returning [with limited season outing] Citroen driver, Sebastien Loeb was second quickest with a difference of +0.035s to Jari, while VW Motorsport's no.1 driver Sebastien Ogier was +0.292s below the leader.

Citroen DS3 WRC driver Dani Sordo finished 4th quickest with +0.912s over, while Mikko Hirvonen, Mads Ostberg, Thierry Neuville were in the order downward. Latvala who topped the Qualifying chose his best position to start with tomorrow, i.e., last of the WRC cars hoping for a good dry weather conditions.

Stay tuned with us for more updates!!
Read more ...

All-time Top 5 +NEWS