A marathon with high-speed spurts.
The landscape in the highlands of central Argentina is simply made for rally driving: narrow, winding passages alternate with faster sections; recently even a few high-speed sections are being driven along again, allowing drivers to demonstrate their courage. ‘Back to our roots’ is the latest motto of the Argentina Rally. The organisers have used the new freedoms in the regulations of the world championship to create an old-style rally in which endurance is as important as speed. With special stages totalling around 500 kilometres in length, the Argentina Rally could justifiably be called the marathon among the world championship events. Characteristic of the only world championship rally in South America are the many water splashes. For driver and vehicle they generally pose no real problem, but after heavy rainfall they can turn into formidable obstacles.
Date: 8 tilL 11 May 2014
There’s a group of people who are often overlooked during a rally, and that’s the co-drivers. They are, of course, unjustly overlooked, because rallying is a team sport, and without a co-driver’s very quick instructions, it would be impossible for a driver to drive a WRC vehicle at high speed. After all, you’re sure to run into trouble if you’re driving at 160 km/h without any idea of whether you need to steer left or right after the next corner.
Miikka Anttila about Rally Argentina.
What’s different about Rally Argentina?
It’s outside of Europe, so there’s a very different culture there to what we are familiar with here. In 2005, Jari-Matti and I experienced a breakdown during the final special stage and had to wait for around three hours for the service team to arrive. When the rally ended for the day, all of the spectators streamed past us in their cars. It was one long line of cars that went on for three hours. Jari-Matti and I worked out that around 5,000 must have passed us, which is a good indicator of just how crazy the Argentinians are about rallies.
What do you have to pay particular attention to in Argentina?
Argentina tends to be a fast gravel rally, but there are a few very slow sections too. This change in the pace makes the rally very demanding.
What has been your finest moment in Argentina?
That was without a doubt the 2013 rally in the Polo R WRC. We suffered a flat tyre early on in the rally, but we clawed our way back and went on to finish in third place.
And what about your worst moment in Argentina?
That was when the Group N Subaru broke down and we counted all of the passing cars, as described above – we would have preferred to be driving ourselves.