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Rally Argentina: Tanak takes 1.6s lead on opening stage

Ott Tanak Toyota WRC Rally Argentina 2019

World Rally Championship driver Ott Tanak took an early lead on Rally Argentina, winning the opening Villa Carlos Paz superspecial by 1.6 seconds from Citroen's Sebastien Ogier.

Toyota's main title contender Tanak followed up his fastest time in the shakedown with the best time on the short 1.18-mile blast around the host city's streets, which took place in damp conditions.

His Yaris WRC team-mate Kris Meeke also mirrored his shakedown performance by going third quickest, 0.1s off Ogier's second-fastest time.

Hyundai duo Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville completed the top five, with points leader Neuville dropping 2.1s to rival Tanak.

Andreas Mikkelsen Hyundai WRC Rally Argentina 2019

Jari-Matti Latvala suffered a bizarre moment only a few seconds into the stage, when a dog ran towards the path of his car.

Although the Finn said he was "a bit disturbed" when he saw the stray animal, his time loss was minimal and so he tied with Dani Sordo for sixth.

Behind eighth-placed Esapekka Lappi was M-Sport pairing Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen, completing the top 10.

Suninen had set the equal third-fastest first split but spun late on, having taken an aggressive cut over the middle of a grassy roundabout.

Three-time European Rally champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz had been fifth fastest at the midway point, despite driving a less powerful R5-specification Volkswagen Polo GTI.

But he spun at the same roundabout as Suninen and was forced into a three-point turn.

Instead it was Toyota protege Takamoto Katusta that was fastest of the WRC2 support category contingent, 0.3s off Suninen's time and 0.8s ahead of WRC2 Pro leader Gus Greensmith.

Leading positions after SS1

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1Ott Tanak, M.JarveojaToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota1m58.6s
2Sebastien Ogier, J.IngrassiaCitroen Total WRTCitroen1.6s
3Kris Meeke, S.MarshallToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota1.7s
4Andreas Mikkelsen, A.JagerHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai2.0s
5Thierry Neuville, N.GilsoulHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai2.1s
6Dani Sordo, C.del BarrioHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai2.3s
6Jari-Matti Latvala, M.AnttilaToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota2.3s
8Esapekka Lappi, J.FermCitroen Total WRTCitroen2.9s
9Elfyn Evans, S.MartinM-Sport Ford WRTFord3.1s
10Teemu Suninen, M.SalminenM-Sport Ford WRTFord3.5s


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