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After a short sojourn back to Europe for an exciting, action-packed Tour de Corse in France, the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) heads back to the America for its fifth round, the stunning Rally Argentina (27th to 30th April).

This rally takes place at the lakeside resort of Villa Carlos Paz, close to the city of Córdoba in the north-west of the country and is characterised by vast grassy plains (pampas), big mountains, and lakeside roads. It comprises of 18 stages and 357 km of competitive distance on mostly gravel roads.

But the opening special stage on the Thursday evening takes place on the streets of the city of Cordoba and consists of both gravel and asphalt roads. It has a new layout this year, it has been lengthened to 1.75 km and will - as always - draw big crowds.

2017 Rally Argentina Facts

On Friday, the rallying begins in earnest with drivers heading south to take on two loops of three stages on the quick sandy roads of the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita valley. This leg also includes two attempts at the super special stage, which takes place at a theme park close to Villa Carlos Paz.

The second leg on the Saturday consists of 160 km of rallying making it the longest day of the rally. This time drivers head north to the Punilla Valley for two loops of three stages.

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari / Killian Duffy, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Culture & Sport Qatar Rally Team. Rally Argentina 2016

And the third and final leg sees them heading into the Traslasierra Mountains for two of the rally’s most well-known stages, El Cóndor and Giulio Cesare.

El Cóndor, in particular, has become an iconic stage, with crowds gathered on the top of the high roadside roads to catch a glimpse of the action on the roads beneath them. But Giulio Cesare too offers spectacular images as the cars traverse the regions unique, moonlike landscape.

Nicolás Fuchs / Fernando Mussano, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Nicolás Fuchs. Rally Argentina 2016

But for all the spectacular scenery there are plenty of challenges for drivers to overcome. There is a big difference in the driving conditions between legs, which puts pressure on the teams to ensure that the cars are set up right. Weather conditions too can affect team planning with fog a common issue in early autumn in the southern hemisphere and ice on the mountain stages not unknown either.

On the sandy stages, roads can deteriorate quickly, especially on the second pass. The usual line cars take becomes a deep track and venturing out of this in latter stages can throw the car off the road. Most teams will raise the height of their vehicles to try and cope with this.

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari / Killian Duffy, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Culture & Sport Qatar Rally Team. Rally Argentina 2016

But for all of the challenges, the Rally Argentina is always thrilling for drivers, not least because of the spectacular scenery and the passionate fans who contribute to an electric atmosphere throughout.

This year will see the ŠKODA Motorsport pairing of Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson look to build on their 100% start to the WRC2 season, while a number of FABIA R5 cars in the colours of ŠKODA Customer Teams will also be taking part.

As ever, we wish all FABIA R5 drivers and teams the best and will be keeping a close eye on their progress throughout the Rally Argentina right here on the ŠKODA Motorsport website as well as on our social media channels.