In becoming the third different winner in as many World Rally Championship rounds this season, Sebastien Ogier's first victory for Toyota on Rally Mexico ensured the balance of power in the WRC has started to teeter away towards Puuppola.
The teams arrived in the Mexican sunshine having done what they could to prepare for their first all-gravel event of the season, with Hyundai dispatching defending series champion Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo to Portugal for an outing on the Rally Serras de Fafe and M-Sport taking in an extensive test in Spain. In addition to their dusty mileage, Malcolm Wilson's team called upon Ford's technical muscle to simulate the Mexican running conditions in a climatic chamber.
Before the start, Toyota's championship leader Elfyn Evans was busy tipping team-mate Ogier for a record-equalling sixth win in Mexico. The self-effacing Evans was quite happy to admit that his own victory odds were considerably longer. His status atop the points table, courtesy of victory on the last round in Sweden, would oblige him to run first and sweep the long gravel stages on the opening day, handing buckets of time to those further back.