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May 22-25
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Argentina heralded the end of the first half of the WRC season - seven races run, seven to go. As you know, we have covered it from the start and will do until the bitter end. Unlike some years the end is not so predictable however! No less than five manufacturers have won rallies already. However, Toyota are sprinting into the lead in the manufacturers' championship with 67 points to Mitsubishi's 40. Subaru have leap-frogged Ford to third place with 36 points. The Corolla WRC seems to be the best all-rounder though! Still, there is a long way to go....
Day one in Argentina comprised of only a single Super Special Stage - won with more than a second to spare by Sainz. The following day it appeared that the rally was already Toyota's. However, improvements to the Subaru Imprezas of Kankkunen and Burns soon took effect as the Subaru and Toyota drivers traded fastest times. McRae was quickest briefly before he crashed and retired on Super Stage 3. By the end of the day the Imprezas were quickest - Kankkunen ahead of his team mate. Perhaps a little surprisingly was the pace of French man Auriol - 43 seconds ahead of Sainz after a puncture and his bonnet opening. An eventful day then on all accounts.
Kankkunen in action in the rejuvenated Subaru Impreza Photograph provided by Subaru
Burns and Auriol continued their blistering pace ahead of the rest of the pack, with Sainz chasing hard behind. Makinen was soon on the pace as the Toyotas' tyres seemed less effective, but even the mighty Mitsubishi could not keep up with the Imprezas of Burns and Kankkunen. A hard days racing ended with Burns 15 seconds ahead of Auriol and Kankkunen only 2 seconds further away. Sainz recovered the first day's loss to finish in 4th place, only 10 seconds behind Kankkunen - his best was yet to come though on the final day.
Day 4 (leg 3) and the Subarus were once again unstoppable - Makinen tried, and indeed was fast enough, but both Burns and Kankkunen were consistently fast. One has to question where the new found speed has come from! At the finish, Kankkunen was only 2 seconds faster than his team mate. Third placed Auriol was a further 38 seconds behind - a massive minute and 15 seconds ahead of his team mate. Perhaps a surprising result then in Argentina, with the impressive new Focus out of contention (Radstrom managed a solid, if unexceptional 6th place) and Subaru dominant. It certainly sets the scene for the second half of the season! The next round in Greece should be a scorcher! Review and pictures here Friday 11 June.
Auriol established himself firmly as a serious contender for the 1999 championship Photograph provided by Toyota
Click here to view the championship standings to date.
Race No.
1 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V Tommi Makinen / Risto Mannisenmaki Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart
2 Mitsubishi Carisma GT Freddy Loix / Sven Smeets Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart
3 Toyota Corolla WRC Carlos Sainz / Luis Moya Toyota Castrol Team
4 Toyota Corolla WRC Didier Auriol / Denis Giraudet Toyota Castrol Team
5 Subaru Impreza WRC 99 Richard Burns / Robert Reid Subaru World Rally Team
6 Subaru Impreza WRC 99 Juha Kankkunen / Juha Repo Subaru World Rally Team
7 Ford Focus WRC Colin McRae / Nicky Grist Ford Motor Co Ltd
8 Ford Focus WRC Thomas Radstrom / Fred Gallagher Ford Motor Co Ltd
9 Seat WRC Piero Liatti / Carlo Cassina Seat Sport
10 Seat WRC Harri Rovanpera / Risto Pietilainen Seat WRC
11 Toyota Corolla WRC Volkan Isik / Erkan Bodur Toyota Mobil Team Turkey
12 Subaru Impreza WRC Frederic Dor / Kevin Gormley F. Dor Rally Team
14 Toyota Celica Marco Galanti / Hugo Zicchini Marco Galanti
15 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gustavo Trelles / Martin Christie Ralliart Italia Scruderia
16 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V Manfred Stohl / Peter Müller Manfred Stohl
17 Subaru Impreza Roberto Sanchez / Edgardo Galindo Roberto Sanchez
18 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Hamed Al Wahaibi / Tony Sircombe Team Mitsubishi Oman
19 Mitsubishi Evolution V Jorge R. Recalde / Jose A. Garcia Ralliart America
20 Mitsubishi Evolution V Kris Rosenberger / Per Carlsson Kris Rosenberger

1 Juha Kankkunen / Juha Repo Subaru Impreza WRC 99
2 Richard Burns / Robert Reid Subaru Impreza WRC 99
3 Didier Auriol / Denis Giraudet Toyota Corolla WRC
4 Tommi Mäkinen / Risto Mannisenmaki Ford Focus WRC
5 Carlos Sainz / Luis Moya Toyota Corolla WRC
6 Thomas Radstrom / Fred Gallagher Ford Focus WRC
Corsica Rally Acropolis Rally

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