Red Bull WRC expert Matthew Wilson gets behind the scenes of Rally Argentina

Red Bull WRC expert Matthew Wilson gets behind the scenes of Rally Argentina

29.04.2017: .. ahead of today's live show Red Bull TV presenters Mike Chen & Matthew Wilson, Rally Argentina 2017

.. ahead of today's live show

 Red Bull TV presenters Mike Chen & Matthew Wilson, Rally Argentina 2017

The opening Friday of Rally Argentina was amazing: British Ford Fiesta driver Elfyn Evans took a shock lead, reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier explored a ditch, Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon rolled on the first stage, and both Citroens were out after tripping over the same bump.

The non-stop action continues today over six more spectacular stages in the Southern Hemisphere, including the live ‘Tanti Villa Bustos’ stage, which will be broadcast at 12:50 local Argentina time (17:50 CEST) on Red Bull TV. This 20-kilometre stage is typical of what Rally Argentina is all about: soft gravel, stunning landscapes, and an army of passionate fans.

 Track overview of Red Bull TV live stage: SS13 Tanti Villa Bustos at 12:50, local time

The 90-minute live show is presented by Mike Chen and WRC expert Matt Wilson, who has competed in Argentina five times himself, during a career that spanned 90 world championship rallies. After an opening day that nobody could have predicted, he’s the ideal man to bring an expert opinion to all the action so far.

How come Elfyn Evans, from Britain, dominated the first day? He’s ninth in the championship and the best result he’s had all year has been sixth – so where did that lead of nearly a minute suddenly come from?


“There’s not just one answer: it’s a combination of things. Firstly, his road position helped because he started further down the order and was sliding less on loose gravel, as all the other cars in front of him swept it up. Secondly, he’s the only top competitor on DMack tyres. They’ve brought a new product here and it seems to be working very well.

Then of course, it’s down to Elfyn’s talent itself. He’s led world rallies before, but he seems to have a really good sensitivity to slippery surfaces in particular. Finally, success is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re in front, you’re setting the pace and your confidence is up. So you’re likely to keep on extending your lead.”

Citroën have had a year to prepare for 2017, but their season seems to be going the wrong way: yesterday was probably their worst day of the year. After winning in Mexico, Britain’s Kris Meeke crashed and Craig Breen from Ireland stopped with a gearbox problem on day one in Argentina. Why?


“There will be a lot of frustration at Citroën, no question. Without being on the inside of the team, it’s hard to point at the reasons why, although yesterday was all about one driving error and one car issue, so that’s easy to explain.

Maybe the preparation hasn't been enough? What’s for sure is that Citroën is better equipped than anyone else to turn the whole situation round quicker than you think. If you look at the improvement they made just from Monte-Carlo to Corsica, it shows you what they’re capable of.”

How bad are the conditions in Argentina? Lots of people say that it looks more like Dakar in Argentina than WRC in Argentina!

“It’s been very rough. And the El Condor stage tomorrow, the most famous stage of the rally, looks quite bad too: certainly rougher than I ever remember it from when I was driving.

 The gravel roads seem to be a lot more broken up and bumpy than usual. In these conditions, it actually helps to push on a bit: if you have a good pace you’re skimming over the top of the obstacles rather than hitting them hard. That’s been part of Elfyn’s secret here, I’m sure. If you look at his car, it’s not even got much damage.”

Hyundai showed great pace on snow and asphalt in Monte-Carlo, Sweden and Corsica but the team hasn’t looked so good on the gravel rallies, in Mexico and Argentina. Any idea why

“One factor that Mexico and Argentina has in common is altitude so it could be linked to that. But I think Hyundai’s recent test with Andreas Mikkelsen was a very smart move. It shows everyone else that they mean business, and if they end up running four cars instead of three, they’re going to be very hard to beat on any surface this year. I don’t think you can discount them this weekend either: it’s not just Thierry Neuville who has been quick but his team mates too.”

Can championship leader Sebastien Ogier from France still win in Argentina from where he ended day one: fourth overall, more than a minute behind the leader?


“I don’t know if he can win, but there’s one thing he’s brilliant at, which is maximising every opportunity that comes his way. That’s why he’s a four-time champion. And it’s not impossible that we’ll see a similar situation to Corsica here, where he doesn’t actually win the rally but manages to extend his championship lead anyway, even on an event that hasn’t gone perfectly for him.”

Private driver Mads Ostberg has suddenly turned up from out of nowhere and the Norwegian is suddenly second after the first day behind Evans: how come?


“After Elfyn, Mads was the driver of the day yesterday. He knows what he’s doing on these surfaces, but as a privateer he’s also allowed to do long-haul tests, so he tested in Argentina before starting the recce here. That’s always a big help as you can relate the actual roads you see on the recce to your experience in testing.”

Don’t miss the live show to catch all the action from SS13 as it happens with Mike and Matt. A full recap of day two is also available at the end of the day, all on Red Bull TV.


Friday 28 April: Highlight show - 22:00 (local time ART) / 03:00 CEST

Saturday 29 April: Live coverage - 12:50 (local time ART) / 17:50 CEST

Saturday 29 April: Highlight show - 22:00 (local time ART) / 03:00 CEST

Sunday 30 April: Highlight show - 22:00 (local time ART) / 03:00 CEST

Watch Red Bull TV on all your devices, wherever you’re connected


Vera Dussausaye, photos Red Bull


29.04.2017 / MaP

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