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Mud and glory as rain man Meeke seizes Argentina lead

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Villa Carlos Paz (Argentina) (AFP)

Britain's Kris Meeke seized the lead of the Argentina Rally on Friday, flourishing in the gruelling mud and torrential rain of the event's first full day.

Toyota driver Meeke edged Hyundai's Thierry Neuville, the world championship leader, by 5.4sec.

Reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier, in a Citroen,and overnight leader Ott Tanak in another Toyota, were locked at 1.2sec further off the pace, after five stages.

"This morning was a big challenge, and not so much about ultimate pace. It was more about reading the road," said Meeke after a morning run dampened by 48 hours of rain and which saw the one stage cancelled due to the wet conditions.

"The stages here are quite sandy and 70 per cent was what you would expect. But there are places where it was thick mud for 200 metres and I had to drop a couple of gears."

Neuville climbed from ninth place despite acting as 'road opener'.

"We struggled in the first stage because there was so much water on the road. We had to make a line for those behind and the road became progressively quicker," the Belgian told wrc.com.

"In the next one we improved the settings, took a few risks and we're back in the fight for the lead."

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