The World Rally Championship's leading drivers are bracing themselves for what they expect to be one of the toughest events in the series' history when Rally Argentina starts this afternoon.
The last round of the series in Portugal provided one of the most unpredictable rallies ever, with many of the front-runners going off the road – this week's Villa Carlos Paz-based event is expected to deliver more of the same.
Ford's team director Malcolm Wilson said: "Look at the weather that's coming in, we've got rain and fog and everything – there's no doubt this is going to be a very, very hard rally and certainly the hardest since the last Safari."
Sebastien Loeb – winner of the last six Rally Argentinas – agreed with Wilson, pointing out that the fog was his biggest concern.
"When you have the visibility down to 20 meters, there's nothing you can do," said Loeb, "and this is possible on this event. During the recce we had fog. We were quite lucky, the fog came down on the Condor stage for us, but this is a stage which we know quite well.
"When we were doing the recce for the new stage, we also had some fog, but then it cleared when we were on our second run through the stage, so it wasn't so bad. This rally will have everything when it starts, we will have fog, the dark, muddy roads and narrow stages – it's going to be very tough."
Rain is predicted throughout the event and the hills around Villa Carlos Paz are shrouded in fog this afternoon.