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FIA World Rally Championship Argentina


After a frenzied start to the 2007 season, World Rally Championship regulars enjoyed a month's break after Portugal before the series resumes this weekend in South America. The route of the forthcoming Rally Argentina will take competitors from the famous River Plate 'Estadio Monumental' Stadium in Buenos Aires to the sierra of the Córdoba region before a grand finale in Córdoba's Estadio Chateau Carreras.

After visiting both the Olympic Stadium in Athens and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in 2005, then the Château Carreras Stadium in Córdoba last year and the Estadio de Algarve last March, this weekend will see the WRC showcased in the legendary River Plate Stadium, the hallowed arena where national hero Mario Kempes sliced through Cruyff's Oranges in the 1978 Soccer World Cup to put the first golden star on the Albiceleste jersey.

What with the growing use of soccer and rugby stadia, an F1 circuit in Monaco, a hippodrome in Sweden and the former Olympic ice-skating rink in Norway, modern rallying, like a cuckoo in spring, seems to have no qualms about squatting the nests other international sports, even if that does entail - as it does this weekend - a lightning round trip from the giant cuckoo clock of Villa Carlos Paz's town centre to the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, 750km distant...

True Rally Argentina aficionados - those who camp out in the mountains with only glowing braseros for warmth and who swallow down their barbecued asados with best Mendoza red - will still get the chance to see their heroes in action from Friday morning after the caravan returns to its quarters on the shores of Lake San Roque Lake in Villa Carlos Paz. The route will then twist its way through the local sierra and pampas, visiting stages like Ascochinga, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, Mina Clavero and El Condor that have collectively forged the event's legend.

Indeed, the Rally Argentina features a bit of all the traditional challenges associated with gravel fixtures. Certain stages are very fast, others are narrower, technically demanding or rough, not to mention the many impressive jumps and dozens of fords. The surface also tends to vary from leg to leg, with the prospect of slippery mud in the La Cumbre region if it rains, then sandy ground in the lower-lying land around Santa Rosa de Calamuchita and rockier terrain in the mountains that tower over Mina Clavero...

"With this broad mix of conditions, tyres need to be versatile, strong and durable, three qualities that characterise the g-Force Gravel that won this event in 2006," observes BFGoodrich Rally Manager Matthieu Bonardel. "At the same time, the tyre and car package needs to be a perfect match, with the tyres working in total harmony with the suspension."


Tyre: g-Force Gravel

g-Force Gravel 8: soft compound (used in wet conditions and/or low temperatures)

g-Force Gravel 9: medium compound (temperatures between 15 and 25°C, used for first passes)

g-Force Gravel 9+: hard compound (hard-wearing surfaces and/or high temperatures, used for second passes)

'Land to sea' ratio: approximately 40%. Additional grooves can be added in case of mud or a top-coating of loose gravel.

Features: a relatively compact pattern to favour contact between the tread blocks and the ground for optimal grip and traction. A mousse insert allows drivers to continue without stopping if they pick up a puncture.

Size: 215/65/15

Tyre quota for priority drivers: a maximum of 55 tyres, of which 35 may be used. Only one type of pattern is authorised.


QUOTAS - Priority drivers have a maximum quota of 55 tyres of which they will be able to use a maximum of 35 (rally + shakedown). These tyres were registered with the FIA on Friday March 22.

TESTING PROHIBITED IN ARGENTINA - On-site pre-event testing is not permitted for WRC rounds that take place outside of Europe. Manufacturers consequently tested in Europe (Spain and Sardinia) using test stages that resembled as closely as possible what they can expect in Argentina, then extrapolating from their findings to determine the ideal set-up.

RECORDS - the 2006 Rally Argentina saw Daniel Elena equal the record of 24 world class wins for a co-driver previously held by Luis Moya. This year, Sebastien Loeb could equal Tommi Mäkinen's record of three consecutive Argentine successes in 96, 97 and 98.

PRODUCTION CHAMPIONSHIP - The Rally Argentina is Round 3 of the P-WRC (Production World Rally Championship) and has attracted an entry of 30 cars. Toshi Arai (2nd in Mexico), Travis Pastrana and Andreas Aigner are amongst the drivers flying the BFGoodrich flag. Kristian Sohlberg currently tops the series thanks to his two 2nd places.

VICTORY IN TUNISIA - Jean-Louis Schlesser (Buggy/BFGoodrich) claimed his fifth Rallye de Tunisie win on April 8. With the factory Mitsubishi and VW teams absent, the Frenchman lost no time building up an assertive lead before profiting from the second half of the raid to carry out some tyre testing. His buggy was equipped with wider, bigger-diameter evolution BFGoodrich tyres developed in the USA.

THE 2008 DAKAR - The 30th anniversary edition of the world's most famous rally-raid will take place next January. Unbeaten on the Dakar since 2002, BFGoodrich is actively preparing for the event and new tyres are currently in the process of being validated.

A NEW CO-DRIVER FOR ATKINSON - Following Glenn MacNeall's decision to put an end to his career after the Rally de Portugal, Chris Atkinson will share the cockpit of his Subaru/BFGoodrich from now on with Belgium's Stephane Prevot, formerly right-hand man of Bruno Thiry and Stephane Sarrazin in the WRC.

JORDAN RALLY - This recently-created event is listed on the 2008 WRC calendar. Certain crews, including Loeb/Elena and Solberg/Mills, are scheduled to travel to Jordan from Argentina to recce the 2007 event.

STARS AND STRIPES SCHWARZ - The 1996 European Rally Champion and Team Manager of the Red Bull Rallye Team is to contest three rounds of the American SCORE off-road championship driving a Buggy/BFGoodrich. Highlight of his campaign is November's Baja 1000.

ERC - The 2007 European Rally Championship kicked off at the end of April with the Mille Miglia in Italy, victory going to Giandomenico Basso's BFGoodrich-shod Fiat Punto S2000.


Host town: Villa Carlos Paz
Total route length: 1,393.83km
Total competitive distance: 346.53km
Number of stages: 22


N°1 Sebastien LOEB/Daniel ELENA
(Citroën C4 WRC, Citroën-Total WRT)

(Citroën C4 WRC, Citroën-Total WRT)

(Ford Focus WRC06, BP-Ford WRT)

(Ford Focus WRC06, BP-Ford WRT)

N°5 Manfred STOHL/Ilka MINOR
(Citroën Xsara WRC, OMV-Kronos-Citroën WRT)

(Subaru Impreza WRC, Subaru WRT)

N°8 Chris ATKINSON/Stephane PREVOT
(Subaru Impreza WRC, Subaru WRT)

N°9 Jari-Matti LATVALA /Mikka ANTTILA
(Ford Focus WRC06, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford)

(Ford Focus WRC06, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford)

(Ford Focus WRC06, Munchi.s Ford WRT)

(Ford Focus WRC06, Munchi.s Ford WRT)

N°16 Matthew WILSON/Michael ORR
(Ford Focus WRC 06, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford)


DRIVERS: 1, S. Loeb (38 points). 2, M. Grönholm (37). 3, M. Hirvonen (30). 4, D. Sordo (19). 5, P. Solberg 16). 6, H. Solberg (11). 7, C. Atkinson (10). 8, D. Carlsson (9). 9, J-M. Latvala (7). 10, M. Stohl, T. Gardemeister & G. Galli (5). Etc.

MANUFACTURERS: 1, BP Ford World Rally Team(67 points). 2, Citroën Total World Rally Team (59). 3, Subaru World Rally Team (27). 4, Stobart VK M Sport Ford Rally Team & OMV Kronos Citroën World Rally Team (21).


Press officer: Herve Jothy, +33 608 423 057 .

Media enquiries: Accession - Tel: +33 140 521 717 - Fax : +33 140 521 718

Live results and information, plus daily round-up stories:

April 2007