WRC Mexico: Mads Ostberg takes lead ahead of Sebastien Ogier
|Friday, March 7th 2014, 17:18 GMT|
Mads Ostberg established an early lead over Sebastien Ogier on the first morning of Rally Mexico.
With the championship-leading Volkswagens of Jari-Matti Latvala and Ogier having to run first on the very dusty roads, those behind had a chance to make a break on Friday.
At first the VWs' running order position actually proved advantageous, as dust hanging in the still morning air caused visibility issues for those behind.
But by SS3 Citroen driver Ostberg, running third on the road, was in the lead, and he soon extended a 6.6-second lead.
Some of that advantage was squandered when the crew forgot to take the road-section radiator masking off their DS3 before the short Bicentenial Park stage that completed the loop. Forced to go carefully to avoid overheating the engine, Ostberg's lead came back down to 3.3s.
Mikko Hirvonen is close behind Ogier in third place.
The Finn had an initial battle with the second Citroen of Kris Meeke, before raising his pace and pulling clear, as Meeke fell behind Latvala to fifth.
After his breakthrough podium on Rally Sweden, Andreas Mikkelsen made a promising start in Mexico and ran second after SS2. But he crashed on the next stage and had to retire from the opening leg.
Robert Kubica holds sixth place at present, just ahead of fellow M-Sport man Elfyn Evans.
The Hyundais have, as the team predicted, struggled for pace so far, with Thierry Neuville back in ninth and Chris Atkinson enduring a litany of technical problems.
Leading positions after SS5
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Mads Ostberg Citroen 52m24.6s 2. Sebastien Ogier VW +3.3s 3. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford +11.3s 4. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +19.2s 5. Kris Meeke Citroen +25.0s 6. Robert Kubica M-Sport Ford +1m00.6s 7. Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford +1m14.4s 8. Martin Prokop Czech Ford +1m33.7s 9. Theirry Neuville Hyundai +1m36.2s 10. Benito Guerra M-Sport Ford +2m35.9s
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