Defending World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb reckons choosing a running order position for next week's Rally Argentina will be a real conundrum for drivers, with mixed weather expected in South America.
The traditional theory is that on a gravel rally drivers would want to run further down the field, allowing those ahead to sweep the stages clear of the loose stones - but with rain forecast for Argentina, the Frenchman says he remains in the dark over where to start.
On the last WRC event in Portugal, Ford and Citroen made opposite choices, with Ford deciding to run late in the order and Citroen going early, fearing dust. Loeb expects a similarly tough decision next week.
"Choosing our starting positions for the first leg is going to be a real headache," said Loeb. "In Portugal, we took a measured risk by opting to go first, because there were only 35 kilometers of special stages on the first day. In Argentina, there are over 200 kilometers of timed stages on the Friday!
"If it rains, we'll need to be at the front to avoid having to wade through the mud. If it doesn't, we'd certainly be better off starting in around 15th position."
Loeb retired on the opening loop of stages in Portugal, rolling his Citroen DS3 WRC off the road on the third test. That early departure has made Loeb all the more determined to further an unbeaten run in Rally Argentina that goes back to 2004.
"After the disappointment of Portugal, I am determined to get back to winning ways, especially at this rally, with its unrivalled atmosphere," he said.