Kris Meeke’s chances of regaining his IRC title took a blow at Rally Argentina yesterday when he was forced to retire at the end of the penultimate stage.
Meeke, driving a Peugeot 207, had been locked in a battle with Skoda’s Guy Wilks for second before a variety of problems dropped him down to sixth.
The Briton suffered intermittent engine cut-outs and a throttle sensor problem, before finally succumbing to a broken steering joint and suspension. He had led the rally briefly after Friday’s first super special stage.
The rally was won by Juho Hanninen in his Skoda Fabia; he finished 51secs ahead of Wilks having won 11 of the rally’s 13 stages. Jan Kopecky ensured there were three Skoda Fabia drivers on the podium.
Hanninen’s victory ensured he extended his lead at the top of the IRC standings over Wilks by five points. Meeke lies in fifth place in the standings having scored 14 points less than Hanninen’s 24 after three rounds.
Rally Argentina results
1. Juho Hanninen Skoda 2h30m38.1s2. Guy Wilks Skoda + 51.0s3. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 2m20.1s4. Gabriel Pozzo Subaru + 5m03.9s5. Federico Villagra Ford + 5m14.2s6. Bruno Magalhaes Peugeot + 6m11.0s7. Nicolas Madero Mitsubishi + 6m47.5s8. Diego Dominguez Mitsubishi + 7m39.3s9. Alejandro Cancio Mitsubishi + 8m38.3s10. Juan Manuel Marchetto Mitsubishi + 9m17.6s