The fifth round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar started the same way it ended last year. Ott Tänak (Toyota Yaris WRC) was dominant at the start of the 39th Xion Rally Argentina and commanded the actions in both the Shakedown and the Super Special YPF Infinia Villa Carlos Paz with which the race kicked off. Tomorrow, the race goes to the stages in Calamuchita Valley.
It would be necessary to go back to the penultimate special stage of the first day of Rally Argentina 2018 to find a different name in front of the overall classification in the most emblematic race of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in South America.
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT drivers seems to feel comfortable in Cordoba stages and he showed it throughout Thursday. The most important event of the day went through the streets of downtown Villa Carlos Paz, where the first timed stage took place, and – despite the persistent rain – was followed by a crowd.
Tänak set a time of 1m58s6/10 and in just 1900 meters he had a good advantage of 1s6/10 over Frenchman Sébastien Ogier (Citroën C3 WRC), while the Briton Kris Meeke (Toyota Yaris WRC) was third, 1s7/10 behind. Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT drivers Andreas Mikkelsen and championship leader Thierry Neuville completed the top five.
The boys also had fun in the streets of Carlos Paz.
The lower categories of the World Rally Championship also got the applause of the fans this Thursday. Gus Greensmith (Ford Fiesta R5) was the reference among the drivers of the WRC2 Pro. With a time of 2m03s2/10 he managed to beat Mads Ostberg (Citroën C3 R5) by just 1s1/10 and Marco Bulacia (Skoda Fabia R5) by 1s5/10.
Among the WRC2, Takamoto Katsuta (Ford Fiesta R5) was in front after the first special clocking 2m02s4/10, while Mexican Benito Guerra (Skoda Fabia R5) was 1s2/10 behind and Chilean Alberto Heller (Ford Fiesta R5), was 2s9/10 later.
A crowd faced the rain in the Shakedown
In the morning, Ott Tänak had been dominating in the Shakedown. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT driver was wide awake in the cool Thursday morning and got the best time in the last test the WRC drivers had before the official start of the competition. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 WRC) and Kris Meeke (Citroën C3 WRC) equaled in time in the second place.
The test was followed by a large number of spectators who early on began to cover the designated sectors within the 4250 meters of the section.