Team boss David Lapworth has proclaimed Subaru the team to beat in Argentina, but his counterpart at Citroën, Guy Frequelin, says the Xsara WRC, and not the French team’s inexperience of the South American event, will be a decisive factor.

Team boss David Lapworth has proclaimed Subaru the team to beat in Argentina, but his counterpart at Citroën, Guy Frequelin, says the Xsara WRC, and not the French team’s inexperience of the South American event, will be a decisive factor.


CARtoday.com on Monday quoted Lapworth as saying that defending world champion and Subaru Impreza WRC driver Petter Solberg was the favourite to conquer the gravel course and reign supreme at this weekend's Rally of Argentina.


"Sébastien (Loeb, Citroën’s lead driver) was very good in Turkey, but I still think that Petter's got the edge on the gravel events, so we need to focus on that and go to Argentina to win," he said. "We intend to push from the beginning, but we will also be keeping an eye on the mirror to see what happens to Sébastien."


But Frequelin said: “Our knowledge of the event is limited to a week of testing in 2002 and our participation in 2003. That said, last year’s event went rather well for us. Carlos posted seven fastest stage times and, had it not been for a clocking-in error, he could have come away with better than second place.


Loeb predicted that any one of the top four or five drivers could dominate in Argentina, although the Frenchman was equally confident of his own chances (despite acting as road sweeper on the opening leg by virtue of his drivers’ championship lead).


“It was good to show in Turkey that I am capable of winning on the loose in a straight fight,” he said. “To have done so by beating Marcus and Petter on the stages only adds to the pleasure. (Co-driver) Daniel Elena and I had already come second on several occasions, and it was time to go one better.


The Xsara should be competitive in Argentina, Loeb added. “The jumps and the fords aren’t a problem for the car, nor the rougher terrain and the traction is now very good over the ribbed portions. It will be up to us to make the most of all that once the first loop of stages is over.