MOTORSPORT /// WRC /// 2014 XION RALLY ARGENTINA (8.5.2014 – 11.5.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// SS14……

  • Hola.
  • It’s a very Spanglish weekend in ‘C&GS’ motorsports.
  • Bouncing from the F1 Spanish Grand Prix, let’s go to Rally Argentina.
  • This is the 14 and final stage of the South American classic.
  • …It is a repeat of SS12, El Condor.
  • …16.32km/10.14mi.
  • …It is the Power Stage.
  • …Points for the top three.
  • …And, it is  muddy mess.
  • …The biggest danger, however, is getting crapped on by a condor.
  • …Fun fact: there are California condors present this weekend.
  • …They flew down, just to see WRC “voice of rally”, Colin Clark.
  • …Yes, if you listen, you can hear them call, “stoked”.
  • Okay, how has this round gone (thus far)?
  • …In the way of Jerry Matt, that’s how.
  • …Boom.
  • …Latvala and Anttila have shoved the faces of all their competitors in the mud and lost them in the fog.
  • …Jer-Bear’s The Confidence is running high.
  • …And, it is good.
  • …After SS13, he holds over a minute and a half lead over Championship leaders, 2013 Championship winners, and teammates, Ogier/Ingrassia.
  • Prokop/Tománek/Fiona the Fiesta head out onto the stage.
  • …The Czech privateer trio stand in eighth.
  • …They took 12th in the first loop.
  • M-Sport’s Evans/Barritt take off.
  • …The rookie Brits (well, Evans is in his first full season) are in (overall) seventh.
  • …They finished seventh the first time around.
  • …They (also) stand in seventh in their respective Championships.
  • Kubica/Szczepaniak toss their Fiesta into the fog.
  • …They stand in sixth (overall).
  • …And, finished the first loop in ninth.
  • …The former F1 threat vowed to take this round easy and focus on completing a clean race.
  • …Which he has done.
  • How bad is the fog on El Condor?
  • …No helicopters are flying and the ground crews are capturing glimpses of cars as they emerge from the grey.
  • …The good news, however, is that no vengeful lepers have killed anyone.
  • …The onboards are fog and wipers, frantically trying to clear the windshields of mud.
  • …I love Argentina.
  • …As a place.
  • …Not that I’ve ever been there.
  • …Or, will ever go there.
  • …But, it’s so gorgeous and weird.
  • …And, home to Cerra Aconcagua.
  • …And, rally-wise, it’s in the Western Hemisphere, which translates to being a mere two hours ahead of me.
  • M-Sport’s Hirvonen/Lehtinen cross the finish line.
  • …Finnish line.
  • …After blasting through the stage.
  • …The duo has won every stage today.
  • …They stand in ninth (overall).
  • …Courtesy of a Day 2 landing, right into a wall.
  • …They are fifth in their Championships (going into this).
  • Fiona pulls into time control.
  • …With her boys.
  • …Not alone.
  • …Yet.
  • …One of these days, she’ll show up without them.
  • …’Christine’ did.
  • As expected, Evans looks terrified.
  • …But, they make it through.
  • …And, all that terror will lead to great respect for these roads.
  • Ogier/Ingrassia on stage.
  • …They’re first in their Championships and second in this rally.
  • …They came in sixth through the first loop.
  • …And, like Mikkelsen/Markkula (also on stage), their Polo hoses a Volkswagen sign with mud.
  • Kubica/Szczepaniak made it!
  • …No retirements!
  • …A top 10 finish is guaranteed.
  • Back to Mikkelsen/Markkula…
  • …They’re in fourth (after an early retirement).
  • …They’re (also) fourth in their Championships.
  • …And, they finished the first loop of El Condor in fourth.
  • By the way, Tomi Tuominen (FIN/Hyundai) is today’s guest commentator.
  • …Can we keep him?
  • …You know, he (actually) used to do F1 commentary in Finland.
  • …He’s great.
  • …In Finnish fashion, he’s concise and tells it like it is.
  • On board with Citroën’s Meeke/Nagle.
  • …Running in third.
  • …They came up fifth in the first loop.
  • …And, they’re 10th in their Championships.
  • …They finish, drama-free.
  • …Like Kubica, the Northern Irishman made a promise to himself to step back and get back on track (after a series of retirements).
  • …And, it paid off.
  • …Big time.
  • Ogier/Ingrassia pull in.
  • …And, Ogier makes a series of amazingly great French faces as he looks at the times.
  • …Because, he’s French Toast.
  • …I, personally, wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Did I cover Hyundai’s Neuville/Gilsoul?
  • …Fifth overall.
  • …Third in the first loop.
  • …Sixth in their Championships.
  • And, for the first time in 100 million years, someone other than Loeb wins Argentina.
  • …And, that someone is Jerry Matt.
  • …Who doesn’t seem to comprehend this, judging by the look on his face as he pulls in.
  • …Another awkward mounting of the car for the Jer-Bear.
  • …Going into this, the duo was second in their Championships.
  • …They had (also) come in second in the first loop.
  • …Can I just put this bluntly and say that this was one, shitty fucking rally (so far as conditions and challenges go)…
  • …And, Jerry Matt won.
  • …Because, as I’ve been saying for years, until frustrated to blue in the face and stomping, he (really) is that good.
  • …This was such a driving showcase.
  • …So, look back at it and remember what you saw and who you saw doing it.
  • …And, remember who you saw, (so very awkwardly) celebrating at the top.
  • …(God, I love that guy.  Maybe because he gets it.)
  • Well, that’s that for Rally Argentina 2014.
  • …SS14 bonus points went to (in descending order) Ogier/Ingrassia, Hirvonen/Lehtinen, and Latvala/Anttila.
  • …The podium is occupied by Latvala/Anttila, Ogier/Ingrassia, and Meeke Nagle.
  • …Mikkelsen/Markkula came in fourth in both stage and overall.
  • …In case anyone was wondering.
  • …I like to list the fourth man, the one who just missed the glory.
  • …Plus, the VW-run Škoda Fabia S2000 battle of 2012 (Ogier and Mikkelsen) remains one of my favorite moments in the WRC.
  • …It was where the action was, especially after Loeb and Hirvonen were instructed to hold positions for Citroën.
  • …It’s just cool to see how far they’ve come (and, still, together).
  • …Mikkelsen (very nervously) reported alternator issues at the end of the stage.
  • …Hopefully, he’ll make it to check-in (alright).
  • Next up is Italy (5-8 June).
  • After catching his right thumb on his steering wheel during a tricky landing forced Østberg/Andersson to retire (midway through today, after attempting a one-handed battle), the Norwegian and Hirvonen vowed to take their “Viking Battle” to Italy.
  • …Yes!!!
  • So, until then…
  • …A tenth career WRC win for Latvala.
  • …Keep it up, Jer-Bear.
  • …(You know you can!!!)
  • By the way, and for the record, I watched this with my mum.
  • …Double the coffee.
  • …Double the blue-eyed Nordic stares at the TV.
  • …She’s beyond excited.
  • …For Meeke, for Kubica, and (especially) for “Jari-Matti”.
  • …(My nicknames for him make her cringe.)
  • …So, happy Mother’s Day to her and all you other mos.
  • …Happy Mother’s Day to my favorite German mother of the WRC!
  • …VW boss Jost Capito.
  • …I bet he’s going to score SO many hugs (today)!
  • …(Don’t try to run away, hide, or otherwise get out of it, boys.)
  • …(Just let him have his day.)
  • ¡Adiós!
  • …(And, I demand more Tuominen.)
  • …(That he and Hänninen are set to compete at Italy is just a minor technicality.)
  • …(I want more Tuominen, and am not above getting a little Veruca Salt over this matter.)
  • Now, where’s Christoph Treier (Jerry Matt’s sports psychologist)?
  • …I’ve got a fist bump for that guy.
  • …It may be of the exploding variety.
  • …Bygones.
  • STOKED!!!!!!!!!!
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