Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala says the asphalt sections on Rally Argentina could decide the outcome of the World Championship qualifier.
Event organizers have broken with tradition by including mixed-surface stages with one fifth of the competitive route now on asphalt.
The El Condor-Cuesta Blanca stage on Friday will end with a 20-kilometer downhill section on Tarmac. The Las Jarillas-Falda del Carmen stage used twice on Saturday starts on gravel but 14 kilometers are downhill on asphalt. Crews will tackle the entire event with full gravel settings and gravel tires.
Latvala, fourth in the WRC standings after five rounds, said: "The first 15 kilometers of El Condor [on Tarmac] is fast, abrasive but generally quite good. But after that it gets really, really quick and you need to have a big commitment over those sections. You can easily lose a lot of time there if you hesitate. That's a very important section.
"On Saturday, it is fast but more flowing and with some nasty downhill braking. This rally can be easily lost on the Tarmac sections if you hesitate. But, on the other hand, you don't want to push too much to save the car."
Latvala and Ford teammate Mikko Hirvonen conducted a special test in Sardinia last month to sample driving their Ford Fiesta RS WRCs on asphalt.
"I had a much better feeling than I did with the Focus on tarmac with gravel tires," Latvala continued. "In that sense it gives me a positive feeling to go on those sections or the rally."
Ford team chief Malcolm Wilson said: "We're here for a gravel rally but we're going to be rallying on asphalt with gravel suspension, gravel tires. It's not the perfect solution and I don't see what it's really adding."