TOYOTA TRIO POST TOP-10 FINISH ON RALLY ARGENTINA
All three Toyota Yaris WRC drivers were in top-10 points-scoring positions at the climax of Rally Argentina yesterday, with Kris Meeke just missing out on a podium place in the fifth round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing team once again showed their pace, with both Ott Tänak and Meeke leading the field during Friday’s first full day of action. Tänak had already won the event-opening Super Special on Thursday, but it was Meeke who took the early initiative, winning the first stage of the day and leading the event into the lunchtime service. In the afternoon, Tänak claimed the advantage with two stage wins before a driveshaft and a spin left him in third place over night. Meeke had a tougher time, ending the day in fourth, with Jari-Matti Latvala in eighth after losing time with a flat tyre and a spin.
On Saturday Tänak claimed two further stage wins in the morning, taking the Yaris WRC’s tally to 200 since the car made its debut in 2017. His challenge faded with a loss of battery power late in the day and overnight he and Meeke were both handed 10-second time penalties for a minor route infringement. Meeke had his sights set on podium finish, winning the first stage of day four and then moving into third place. At the close he missed out on a top-three result by just 1.4 seconds.
“The car was working really well this morning and I enjoyed it. The rhythm was good and we continued that into the Power Stage, but about six kilometres from the end, I got a warning light to say the tyre pressures were going down. I have no idea where it happened. I tried my best, and sometimes it’s like this. It’s a bit frustrating, because in the last three rallies we could have had a top result. I’m really enjoying driving this car, and I enjoyed today even though it didn’t quite work out. I have to keep doing what I’m doing, I know it’s going to come right.”
Latvala followed Meeke home in fifth, with Tänak in eighth place. The team are staying in South America ready for the first even Rally Chile, taking place from 9 to 12 May.
FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY ARGENTINA
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 3h20m54.6s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +48.4s
3 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +1m04.8s
4 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m06.2s
5 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m21.1s
6 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m26.7s
7 Teemu Suninen/Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m57.3s
8 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +14m24.8s
9 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 WRC) +14m28.5s
10 Pedro Heller/Marc Marti (Ford Fiesta R5) +20m14.5s