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PHOTO: Kris Meeke sends the gravel flying on Shakedown in Argentina ( pic)

SÉBASTIEN Ogier and Kris Meeke have tied at the top of the timesheets in the Shakedown session before the start of Xion Rally Argentina, Round 4 of the WRC.

The duo set matching times in their first two passes through the 4.59km stage from Villa Garcia to Cabalango. Ogier went faster on his third and final run in his Volkswagen Polo R, only for Meeke to equal it on his fourth attempt in Citroën’s DS3.

“I enjoyed the break but six weeks was very long so I’m happy to be back in the Polo,” Ogier said.

“We had only one test day on gravel during the six weeks, so it was important to have shakedown to get back in the rhythm again.”

Meeke admitted the six-week break since the previous round in Mexico had helped him.

“The start of the season hasn’t been perfect. The speed has been OK, but I haven’t been able to be consistent and made a few mistakes.

“It was nice to have time to clear the head and come back reset. Like Seb, I’ve had just one day on gravel between the two rallies so shakedown was good to get the feeling back.”

Andreas Mikkelsen was 1.2sec behind in third in his Polo R, just a tenth of a second ahead of Mads Østberg’s DS3 in fourth. Jari-Matti Latvala’s Polo R and Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20 completed the top six.

Kiwi Hayden Paddon went off the road and hit a fence during his third run after a bolt broke in his i20’s front left steering arm. He repaired the car in the stage before returning to the Villa Carlos Paz service park.

Xion Rally Argentina 2015 – Top 10 shakedown:

=1. Sébastien Ogier (Volkswagen Polo R) 2min 30.9sec

=1. Kris Meeke (Citroen DS 3) 2min 30.9sec

3. Andreas Mikkelsen (Volkswagen Polo R) 2min 32.1sec

4. Mads Østberg (CitroenDS 3) 2min 32.2sec

5. Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Polo R) 2min 32.6sec

6. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) 2min 32.9sec

7. Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20) 2min 34.4sec

8. Ott Tänak (Ford Fiesta RS) 2min 34.9sec

9. Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta RS)2min 35.3sec

10. Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20) 2min 36.9sec

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.