Meeke leads Rally Argentina

Following reigning World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier's retirement with suspected engine trouble, British driver Kris Meeke is in the lead of Rally Argentina following a dramatic first morning of stages. Initially, Mads Ostberg had looked like the man most likely to capitalise on Ogier's retirement on the rally's first full-length stage, but Ostberg lost time around the halfway point of the Ascochinga test with an engine issue, similar to the one he suffered in Monte Carlo.

Instead, it was Meeke who came through to take the lead, but a puncture on SS3 meant his advantage immediately fell to just 15.3 seconds, down from 32.7s, with Jari-Matti Latvala in the sole remaining frontrunning Volkswagen, emerging as nearest challenger to Meeke after setting a blistering second stage time, 10.2s quicker than nearest challenger Ostberg and 18.6s ahead of Meeke.

Ostberg holds third ahead of M-Sport team mates Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans - who suffered in the dust of Thierry Neuville on the morning's first stage. Neuville had been delayed changing a puncture. Dani Sordo is sixth after SS3, having ended the first test second. The Spaniard developed a power steering issue early on, and couldn't rectify it on the road section before the second stage. VW's third team driver Andreas Mikkelsen suffered a front right puncture and front suspension failure over the course of the morning and is nearly five minutes off the lead.

Positions after SS3:

1 Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 51m27.0s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 15.3s
3 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 36.2s
4 Ott Tanak M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m00.5s
5 Elfyn Evans M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m11.0s
6 Daniel Sordo Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m16.0s
7 Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford 1m35.4s
8 Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai 1m45.2s
9 Yuriy Protasov Ford 2m16.6s
10 Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m59.5s

24th April, 2015