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WRC YPF Rally Argentina: Burning Questions

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Red Bull Content Pool

The World Rally Championship season resumes today with the 38th annual YPF Rally Argentina, the fifth of 14 rounds on this year’s calendar and the series’ only visit to South America this season. Consisting of 18 stages that combine for over 220 miles of racing, and a combined race and transit length of over 800 miles, it’s one of the longest events on the WRC schedule—as well as one of four consecutive gravel rallies heading into the summer months.

April is one of only two months on this year’s calendar to host two rallies, as Rally Argentina follows the Tour de Corse that took place three weeks ago. If you’re following along with the action over the next four days, here are some of the things you’ll want to watch for:

How will Craig Breen perform in his return to Citroen?

Breen told Autosport that he was “gutted” to have to move aside for nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb in Mexico and France, rather than Citroen placing Loeb and Daniel Elena in its part-time third car. It was particularly bittersweet for Breen after he and co-driver Scott Martin had just achieved a strong second place finish in Sweden; Loeb, meanwhile, only placed fifth and 14th in his two races behind the wheel. Will Breen carry on his podium form, or retire in Argentina as he did last year?

Will Sebastien Ogier finally take a victory in Argentina?

Unlike the heyday of that other Sebastien (Loeb won this rally in seven of his nine WRC championship seasons), Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have never won this event. The past five years have seen five different winners, with Loeb, Jari-Matti Latvala, Kris Meeke, Hayden Paddon, and Thierry Neuville each taking a turn on the top step of the podium. The five-time defending world champions have taken three runner-up finishes in Argentina, but Ogier didn’t even crack the podium at this event in 2017.

Who walks out of this weekend leading the manufacturer’s championship?

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT leads M-Sport Ford WRT 111-107 in the manufacturer’s standings through four races on the back of a more well-rounded effort from its drivers. While Ogier has three wins for M-Sport to Hyundai’s one (Neuville in Sweden), all three i20s have been driven to podium finishes so far in 2018, with Andreas Mikkelsen placing third in Sweden and Dani Sordo running second in Mexico. On the flip side, the Fiestas will need better than Elfyn Evans’ fifth place in France to climb higher on the table.

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