An overall finish in the top ten was the target Armindo Araujo of the WRC Team MINI Portugal had set himself ahead of his debut on the Rally Argentina. Around 20 hours ahead of the end of the fifth round of the 2012 WRC season, the omens for this achievement are good. Going into the last stage on Saturday Armindo and his MINI John Cooper Works WRC bearing Number 12 defended ninth place. However, on the last stage of the day he was forced to relinquish the spot to Petter Solberg.
Solberg had enjoyed a spectacular start to the rally on Thursday and Friday, taking the lead on the third stage before suffering a technical problem on the fourth test which dropped him down to eleventh overall. He made up lost ground through to the 12th
stage to lie tenth, 0,6 seconds adrift of Armindo. Thanks to a third place on the 13th
stage Solberg eventually overhauled Armindo, who now starts the final day in Argentina in tenth place. He has a 7:33,3 minutes lead over his closest challenger, Evgeny Novikov – a solid time cushion, enabling Armindo to control the final stages.
In the meantime Eliseo Salazar in the second MINI WRC delivered another consistent performance. With the stated aim of finishing the Rally Argentina, the 57-year-old multi-talented motorsportsman made up another place to hold 15th
overall. Paulo Nobre in the MINI WRC Number 14 was forced to retire on the ninth stage with a cooling issue, but will take the start again on Sunday.
No respite is expected at the front, either, with world champion Sébastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen enjoying a close fight for the overall lead on Saturday. After the sixth stage Hirvonen was hot on his heels, being just 0,1 in arrears. However, Loeb was able to fight back, and heads into Sunday with a 7,8 seconds lead over Hirvonen. Dani Sordo holds third place, a further 1:40,5 minutes behind Hirvonen. Thus Dani is on course for a podium place.
Six further stages totalling 132,19 kilometres are on the schedule for the final day of the Rally Argentina, with no relaxation in sight for the drivers. The first stage is scheduled for 08:00 local time, and, at 65,74 kilometres, is not only the rally’s longest stage, but a real marathon. To be fully alert and maintain full concentration over the full distance will prove crucial. The 15th
stage is scenically one of the best on Argentina, although the drivers will not be able to absorb its beauty as the stage is extremely technical. All Sunday’s special stages will be contested to the west of the provincial capital Córdoba. The first car starts the 14th
stage at 08:00 local time (13:00 CEST). The Power Stage, following which the winner of the Rally Argentina will be crowned, starts at 15:21 local time (20:21 CEST).
After a difficult start to the second day of the Rally Spain, Dani Sordo delivers a spectacular show for his fans with the MINI WRC.
The MINI Motorsport family is large and embraces the whole world. Find out more about the MINI Stars worldwide.
On the first day in Spain all teams fought off difficult weather conditions and challenging stages. While virtually every stage was marked by retirements, one MINI WRC driver kept his nerve.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
Qualifying stage, autograph session, media conference, starting order draw and ceremonial start: The preliminaries for the Rallye Spain are over; all five MINI WRC Crews are raring to start the WRC finale.
A car built for victory. The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge races across the track at 240 km/h.
Experience MINI John Cooper Works.