BRENTWOOD, England - Qatar M-Sport will be looking to translate their pace into a strong result this week as the FIA World Rally Championship resumes in Argentina.
Youngsters Mads Østberg, Evgeny Novikov and Thierry Neuville face one of the most challenging events on the calendar in their Fiesta RS WRCs. Argentina is famous for by its jumps, water splashes and the lunar landscape of the high altitude El Condor stage. Punctures caused by unsighted rocks are a major threat and the stages demand perfect synchronisation from both drivers and crews.
Østberg has a good track record in Argentina, finishing fifth on his debut there in 2011, and third in 2012. Team-mate Novikov will be another one to watch in South America after setting a string of top-three times on the event last year. Neuville will also be eyeing a podium place after he claimed fifth last time out in Argentina.
“Our goal will be to fight for a podium,” said Østberg. “Given the season so far, it is important for us to get some good points and make sure we’re still in the game. Obviously we still want to win rallies and Argentina is historically a good event for us so we’ll push hard, but the most important thing will be to finish well.
“Argentina is a challenging rally for sure. The weather is very changeable – you can have sun on the plains but then when you get up into the mountains there is a high risk of fog and rain – so you need to be able to adapt your driving style to suit every condition.
“But one of the biggest challenges is the long stages. Generally we’re used to a few long stages mixed in with a lot of shorter ones, but on this event it is pretty much all long stages which makes it a real rally of endurance.”
The four-day long event is based in Villa Carlos Paz north of the capital Buenos Aires and finishes on Sunday.