Opening show: successful start for Volkswagen drivers‏

rivers    Ogier/Ingrassia lead after opening sprint in Merlo    Just 5.68 metres separate the top four: Mikkelsen/Fløene second, Latvala/Anttila fourth2.68 kilometres of special stage, 100 per cent emotion: Volkswagen kicked off its campaign at the Rally Argentina with a fine result on the short opening stage. Double world champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) clocked the fastest time in their Polo R WRC, but the opposition was not far behind. Volkswagen pair Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) share second place with Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL, Citroën) having set exactly the same time. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) are fourth in the third World Rally Car from Wolfsburg. The top four are currently separated by just three tenths of a second – that is the equivalent of 5.68 metres.With 313.28 kilometres against the clock still to come, this minimal lead all but counts for nothing. Heavy erosion has caused deep potholes and grooves on the gravel roads around the Argentinean province of Córdoba, which the drivers must conquer over the next eleven stages if they wish to be crowned the winner on Sunday.Quotes after day one of the Rally ArgentinaSébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1“A nice start to the rally, but we still have some hard days ahead of us – with very tough and raw conditions out on the route. We must first overcome this challenge, then we’ll see how we are doing. However, I want to win this rally, just as I want to win every rally.”Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2“It is always nice to return to somewhere you have enjoyed success in the past. We made a good start to the Rally Argentina, although that was only really a taste of things to come. I am happy. The big chunks of special stage start tomorrow.”Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9“A nice start, and typical of the Rally Argentina: huge crowds and plenty of enthusiasm. We came through the first special stage without any problems. I braked a little bit too late at one point, but that is not so important now – tomorrow we get down to the serious business with some really tough special stages.”Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director“Today’s short stage in Merlo was a nice way to start the Rally Argentina. A lot of fans turned up to cheer the drivers and co-drivers on, making it an emotional start. I think it will have given everyone an extra boost ahead of the really tough stages on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, where there is really something at stake. Today was just a taste of WRC action. However, this good result obviously gives us confidence for the stages ahead.”And then there was ...... the first official tyre change competition in the World Rally Championship. The drivers and co-drivers in each of the World Rally Cars faced the same challenge at the same time in the Service park at Villa Carlos Paz: to unstrap themselves, jump out, grab the tyres from the boot, change them, secure the old tyres in the boot, run across the road, grab a flag, run back to the car and wave said flag. Quite a list of tasks. Winners Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (M-Sport-Ford) achieved all this in just 46.00 seconds. Hot on their heels in third place: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia with a time of 47.93 seconds.