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GP Week : Issue 151
31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: RALLY >>> ARGENTINA Picking the right Option Argentina was a rally of discovery for several of FIA’s new rally policies. First discovery concerned this year’s rule allowing limited quantities of alternative tyres to be available in addition to the preferred control tyres. Here Michelin’s preferred tyre was hard compound, the option was soft. The prevailing damp conditions on the first day of the rally was therefore daunting. Before the weather cleared up during Saturday it really looked like the whole event would be wet. It was clear the teams were going to run out of softs pretty quickly. During Saturday morning drivers began putting alternative tyres on opposite corners of their cars, or front and back. Shortly before the weather improved, rally radio commentator Colin Clark asked Sebastien Loeb why he had hards on both the front and back of his car. “Look at the other side, they are both softs” the champion explained. The weather suddenly got brighter. The decision by DMack to nominate softs provided good results, with Martin Prokop achieving a WRC career personal and DMack best result at fourth place. Nicolas Fuchs had been leading the Production Car category for two days using DMacks as well. Does length matter? Was the extended lengths of the stages and the event a success or failure? Unlike Mexico, the Argentine 65km stage did not give the anticipated spate of stories. There was none of the anticipated exhaustion for the drivers. They were driving cautiously as the road was new to them and recce had been done in foggy conditions. Enough happened on the first day to fill the notebooks for a whole weekend. And seeding selection? Sebastien Loeb, strong advocate of reverse seeding on gravel events, was fastest on the Qualifying Stage – and chose to start first on the road. By the end of the first full day he was leading! The court is waiting for the jury. Benito takes another PWRC Production Car winning driver Benito Guerra from Mexico kept to his declared objectives throughout the Argentina Rally: “I tried to take care of my car all weekend, that was the best strategy. This is my second win in the series.” He predicted the ‘Group N’ race would only be resolved on the final day – and was right! He was comfortable to be lying fourth on the first morning behind Nicolas Fuchs, Marcos Ligato and Michal Kosciuszko. He benefited firstly when Ligato had suspension trouble, then Kosciuszko had engine trouble and on the final morning Fuchs was slowed by turbo trouble. Guerra takes the lead in the series ahead of Kosciuszko.