Rally Mexico: Sebastien Ogier secures commanding win
|Sunday, March 10th 2013, 18:19 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier completed his domination of Rally Mexico as he wrapped up victory and a maximum score on Sunday's final loop of stages.
Ogier had a scare after the morning's opening Guanajuatito stage when he had to spend 20 minutes fixing a sensor issue on his Volkswagen.
With that resolved, Ogier went on to win the following bonus-points power stage and win outright by over three minutes from Mikko Hirvonen's Citroen.
Having won two of this year's three rallies, Ogier already holds a 44-point cushion over nearest title rival Hirvonen. The now part-time Sebastien Loeb is still second in the points, 31 down on Ogier.
Hirvonen started Sunday under pressure from Thierry Neuville. The Belgian went flat-out to try and snatch second place, but a trip off the road on the first stage convinced him to back off and let Hirvonen take the position.
Third was still Neuville's first podium in the World Rally Championship.
That was comfort for his M-Sport Ford team after Mads Ostberg encountered electrical problems when running second on Saturday, having earlier fought Ogier for the lead.
Evgeny Novikov recovered to 10th following an ECU gremlin on day one, while Nasser Al-Attiyah produced one of his best World Rally Car drives yet in the fourth M-Sport entry to take fifth, having matched fourth-placed Dani Sordo's pace for much of the weekend.
On what is currently a one-off in Khalid Al Qassimi's regular Citroen, Chris Atkinson recovered from leg one steering damage to take sixth.
Seventh was still a career-best for Ken Block, while Production champion Benito Guerra must wait to see if eighth is sufficient to secure the full-time top-class drive his sponsors have hinted at.
While one VW driver celebrated 28 points, Ogier's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala had to settle for one power stage bonus point, having broken his suspension just three corners into Friday's first stage.
Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari dominated WRC2 all weekend.
Results after SS23: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen 4h30m27.0s 2. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 3m28.9s 3. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford + 4m23.8s 4. Dani Sordo Citroen + 6m06.7s 5. Nasser Al-Attiyah M-Sport Ford + 8m34.5s 6. Chris Atkinson Abu Dhabi Citroen + 11m28.0s 7. Ken Block Hoonigan Ford + 11m48.3s 8. Benito Guerra CRT Citroen + 12m49.8s 9. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 14m29.0s 10. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 17m15.3s Other WRC finishers: 11. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford + 26m40.4s 16. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen + 55m03.3s WRC retirements: Michal Kosciuszko Italia Mini SS21 Leading power stage results: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen 13m00.5s 2. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford + 5.9s 3. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen + 8.2s 4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 11.8s 5. Dani Sordo Citroen + 23.8s