Round five of the World Championship, Rally Argentina, got underway on Thursday morning with the traditional shakedown. Preferring not to take any risks on a rapidly deteriorating road surface, Craig and co-driver Scott quickly settled in their Citroën C3 WRC over three passes of a 6.01km gravel test. At the end of his morning’s work, Craig set the eighth fastest time, 9/10ths behind his team-mate Kris Meeke.
The rally started officially when the competitors showed their talents around the Córdoba 1.75km-long super special stage later that evening. Friday, contested on roads between Santa Rosa and San Agustin, it was on stage four of Rally Argentina went dreadfully wrong for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. Caught out by the same rock as their team mates, Craig and Scott were forced to retire for the day when the bottom of the car hit the ground hard and damaged the gearbox. Expected to be back in action on day two they were halted when the team detected an oil leak on C3 WRC by during the Saturday morning service.
The crew therefore did not start the leg so as to avoid any risk of damaging the engine. After repairs that involved removing and refitting the powertrain, the no.8 C3 WRC went into parc ferme planning to return on the final day under Rally2 rules. Showing strong times on Sunday including 3rd, 4th and a 6th fastest times saw Craig finish a very trying rally with invaluable experience and 15th overall for their efforts.
At the final stage end Craig said, “It’s not easy to get straight back to competition after missing so much of the rally. It’s a learning experience. It was our first time here and we showed good pace when we could. Now we look forward to events we are more familiar with, maybe we can do something special on them.”