Rally Argentina - Loeb wraps up Argentina victory

Sebastien Loeb clinched his eighth Rally Argentina victory with an ultimately dominant performance on what is planned to be his penultimate World Rally Championship appearance.


Making the third of just four scheduled WRC starts this year, the partially-retired Loeb feared he would be too rusty to match the dominant Sebastien Ogier, who initially pulled away.

The two Frenchmen engaged in an intense battle, with Loeb beginning to claw back time on Ogier before the Volkswagen driver made a mistake on Friday morning and fell to third.

Although problems for Mikko Hirvonen quickly put Ogier back up to second, a puncture convinced him to call off the fight and cruise to the finish as Loeb's runner-up.

Loeb's win is his and Citroen's second of the season. He remains the only man other than Ogier to win a WRC round in 2013.

With Loeb and Ogier cruising to the end on Saturday, the final excitement was in the battle for third, as Evgeny Novikov tried to hang on to the podium position he earned amid chaos among the works cars on day two.

But Jari-Matti Latvala's VW, recovering after a Friday puncture, was too quick for Novikov to resist. The Finn got ahead on the penultimate stage, and Novikov then went off and lost 40s on the power stage while trying to respond. Latvala took the power stage bonus.

Thierry Neuville gave M-Sport two cars in the top five, as the rest of the WRC pack struck delays.

Hirvonen was a victory threat until a puncture then major electrical problems dropped him to an eventual sixth place.

M-Sport's other top driver Mads Ostberg broke a steering arm early in the event. He recovered to seventh under Rally2.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo both crashed, on Friday and Thursday respectively, and ended up close together at the foot of the points by the final morning.

Sordo held the initial advantage as they progressed to eighth and ninth, but a gearbox issue on the final stage meant Mikkelsen ultimately pipped him by just 0.2s.

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