Ford World Rally Team drivers Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio retained their grip on third place during the second leg of Rally Argentina this morning. The Spanish duo completed the opening loop of speed tests with no major problems in their Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car following yesterday’s impressive start to their one-off drive with the team.
Drivers journeyed south from the rally base of Carlos Paz for three special stages covering 80.25km in the Calamuchita Valley area. Weather conditions were brighter but temperatures remained cool and Sordo opted for Michelin’s soft compound tyres, with two hard spares as back-up.
The 28-year-old Spaniard was sixth in the opening 20.18km San Agustin - Santa Rosa test, before setting fifth fastest time in the 20.33km stage from Amboy to Santa Monica. He ended the loop with sixth in the 39.74km Intiyaco - Golpe de Agua test, the longest of the day.
“I made no mistakes but I wasn’t so happy with my times,” admitted Sordo. “I didn’t have full confidence in my pace notes in the last stage and that affected my driving. I used soft tyres in the opening test, which wasn’t the right option as the road was quite dry.
“In the other two stages I had a mix of hard and soft rubber, with soft on the front right and rear left of the car and hard tyres elsewhere. The handling felt different with the mix and the car was moving around too much. Soft tyres all round would have been the best option, especially in the last stage which was slippery in the first part,” added Sordo.
Team-mates Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson remain 11th in their Fiesta RS WRC after restarting under Rally 2 rules following yesterday’s retirement. The 37-year-old Norwegian driver set a strong pace, finishing second in the opening two stages and third in the last to close on those ahead.
“My target is to score as many points as I can so I didn’t take any risks,” he said. “The car worked well and the stages were fantastic. My only mistake was in the second stage when I spun at low speed. The notes for the last stage were made in fog during the recce, and they weren’t perfect in today’s brighter conditions.”
Leaderboard after stage 9 of 19
1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen DS3 3hr 06min 42.3sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Citroen DS3 3hr 06min 44.4sec
3. D Sordo/C del Barrio ESP Ford Fiesta RS 3hr 08min 13.0sec
4. M Østberg/J Andersson NOR Ford Fiesta RS 3hr 09min 08.9sec
5. N Al Attiyah/G Bernacchini QAT Citroen DS3 3hr 14min 40.4sec
6. M Prokop/Z Hrůza CZE Ford Fiesta RS 3hr 14min 49.8sec
7. A Mikkelsen/O Floene NOR Skoda Fabia S2000 3hr 15min 19.1sec
8. S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Skoda Fabia S2000 3hr 15min 31.0sec
9. A Araujo/M Ramalho PRT Mini John Cooper 3hr 18min 05.8sec
10 T Neuville/N Gilsoul BEL Citroen DS3 3hr 18min 19.2sec
For more information:
Contact Mark Wilford or Russell Atkins at the Ford World Rally Team
media desk in Carlos Paz Tel: + 54 3541 484827. Images available at www.worldrallypics.com/ford