Rd.3 Rally Argentina

Production Car World Rally Championship
 
3 to 6 May 2007

LEG ONE

SUBARU Still on top after Friday's Single Stage

4 May 2007
Copyright © STI 
After a hugely popular superspecial in the River Plate stadium in Buenos Aires on Thursday night, inclement weather caused the delay of flights carrying competitors and rally personnel back to the Cordoba region of the country 700 kilometres away for the opening day of the rally proper.

As a result of one of planes not arriving in time for crews to tackle the first leg's stages, only Friday evening's superspecial was run.

Thursday night Superspecial - River Plate Stadium - Buenos Aires:
Thursday's spectator stage was won by Leszek Kuzaj, followed closely by series returnee (and 2004 P-WRC champion) Niall McShea in third place.

Things didn't go quite so well for Sweden's Kristian Sohlberg, mistaking a marshal's gesticulating as a command to slow down on the stage. The incident cost him valuable time and he ended the day nearly nine seconds off the lead.

Leszek Kuzaj: "There was only one stage last night and I got a clean road because the WR cars were in front of me. It's great to be in front at this stage.

George Donaldson

STI Group N Project General Manager:
"Leszek put in a great drive over the Thursday night superspecial stage to take the lead in the P-WRC. He has come into this event with a renewed strategy, so let's hope this signifies the start of that.

"I'm very impressed with Niall McShea on this, his first P-WRC event since taking the championship title at the end of 2004. It's really nice to see him posting such strong times right away. He has remained in the top group of cars (third place) after both superspecials. On Thursday night in fact, he was the quickest of the first group, and remains in third in P-WRC after leg one.

Niall McShea: "Well, as you can imagine I'm very pleased with my current position. But I have to point out that it's been only one stage. The rest of the rally is long and there'll be plenty of things happening before Sunday afternoon rolls around. The team has given me a clear mandate for this rally; make sure you finish - and in the points."

Friday night Superspecial - Cordoba:
Copyright © STI 
The dramas of the day behind them, competitors took to the only test of leg one, the evening spectator stage in Cordoba's main stadium. This time it was a stunning drive by Mirco Baldacci that promoted him from sixth the previous night into the lead in the P-WRC. He lies just 0.1 seconds ahead of fellow SUBARU competitor Leszek Kuzaj, with Niall McShea making it a top trio for the Japanese carmaker.

Others running IMPREZAs include Patrik Flodin, currently sixth, 1.8 seconds off the lead. He is followed by Toshi Arai another 0.7 seconds back. Travis Pastrana is within 6.5 seconds of the lead, and even Nasser Al Attiyah, who felt he had a less than perfect run, is only 10 seconds away at this point.

Tomorrow's leg is set to go ahead as scheduled, and it will be an interesting day as the crews get their first full opportunity to show their performance capabilities on these Argentine stages.



Pos Driver Car Name Time   Diff  
1 Mirco BALDACCI SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 4:58.0 -
2 Leszek KUZAJ SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 4:58.1 +0.1
3 Niall McSHEA SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 4:58.2 +0.2
= Federico VILLAGRA Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4:58.2 +0.2
5 Patrik FLODIN SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 4:59.8 +1.8
6 Stefano MARRINI Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4:59.9 +1.9
7 Toshihiro ARAI SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 5:00.5 +2.5
= Marcos LIGATO Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5:00.5 +2.5
9 Fumio NUTAHARA Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5:00.9 +2.9
10 Stepan VOJTECH Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5:01.9 +3.9