Rally Mexico: Sebastien Ogier takes WRC championship lead with win

Sebastien Ogier stayed out of trouble to reclaim the World Rally Championship points lead with a dominant victory on Rally Mexico, beating Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke

Rally Mexico: Sebastien Ogier takes WRC championship lead with win

Despite the disadvantage of running second on the road on both Friday and Saturday, the M-Sport driver put in a series of blistering stage times to remain within striking distance of early rally leader Sordo and the Citroens of Meeke and series returnee Sebastien Loeb.

Sordo won two stages on Friday to lead the event from Meeke, but Loeb marked his first WRC round since Monte Carlo 2015 by usurping the Spaniard on Saturday morning with two stage victories of his own.

Both Sordo and Loeb suffered front-left punctures on Saturday afternoon, which allowed Ogier to hit the front.

From then on, Ogier took four stage wins to extend his lead over Meeke, who spun three times before rolling on SS20, with the world champion going on to claim his second win of the season.

Having led the opening leg, Sordo lost time to Loeb due to gambling on the softer tyre on Saturday morning.

He was primed to set a faster time than the nine-time world champion on SS14 (Guanajuatito 2) before hitting a rock early in the stage and losing 30 seconds.

Loeb hit a similarly-sized stone on the same pass and lost more than two minutes when he and co-driver Daniel Elena stopped to change a wheel.

2017 Rally Mexico victor Meeke would have challenged Ogier more were it not for two spins in successive stages (SS7 and SS8), the latter on a narrow piece of road which forced the Northern Irishman to drive the wrong way to rotate the car.

A further half-roll on SS20 after sliding on a cobbled hairpin cost Meeke another 45 seconds, dropping him behind Sordo to third.

Aside from Sordo's podium, Hyundai endured a frustrating event, not least for lead driver Thierry Neuville.

The Belgian, who won the previous round in Sweden, suffered a loss of fuel pressure at the start of the Leon Street Stage on Friday which cut the power to his i20.

The problem was compounded with a power steering failure on SS8 (Ortega 2) and another engine cut-out on the opening pass on Saturday morning (Guanajuatito 1).

Team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen lacked speed all rally and was never in contention. The Norwegian finished fourth ahead of Loeb, while Neuville recovered to finish sixth.

Toyota suffered engine overheating caused by the Yaris WRC's inability to take in air in the high altitude, which left Ott Tanak, Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi starved of outright power.

Lappi had "probably the slowest crash I've ever had" on SS7 while Latvala's alternator failed on the road section before SS9.

Tanak had been primed for an assault on the podium places on Saturday morning but suffered a turbo failure after SS11.

The Estonian however returned on Sunday and adopted the same Power Stage tactics as Ogier did in Sweden by arriving late for the stage, copping a penalty.

The decision paid off for Tanak, who took the stage win from Ogier to claim five points, while Neuville, who also arrived late, could only manage fourth.

Pontus Tidemand took WRC2 honours at a canter by beating Brit Gus Greensmith by over six minutes and claiming a superb seventh place overall.

Leading finishers

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 3h54m08.0s
2 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 1m03.6s
3 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 1m19.2s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 1m38.4s
5 Sebastien Loeb, D.Elena Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m24.6s
6 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 9m03.0s
7 Pontus Tidemand, J.Andersson Skoda Motorsport Skoda 10m24.7s
8 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 15m37.1s
9 Gus Greensmith, C.Parry Ford 17m09.3s
10 Pedro Heller, P.Olmos Ford 24m18.1s
11 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 30m57.8s
12 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 33m06.3s


shares
comments
WRC teams diregard FIA request on Rally Mexico powerstage tactics
Previous article

WRC teams diregard FIA request on Rally Mexico powerstage tactics

Next article

WRC leader Sebastien Ogier gets Rally Mexico penalty

WRC leader Sebastien Ogier gets Rally Mexico penalty
How Toyota transformed an F1 hopeful into a factory WRC driver Plus

How Toyota transformed an F1 hopeful into a factory WRC driver

Having originally started out in karting and single-seaters to follow his dream of making it to Formula 1, Takamoto Katsuta's career instead changed course into the world of rallying. A breakthrough 2022 WRC season has lifted Katsuta into Toyota's factory line-up - but it's been a long road to the top level

WRC
8 h
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2022 Plus

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2022

The World Rally Championship welcomed in a new hybrid era in 2022, presenting an unknown challenge to the planet's top rally aces. New records were broken, as Toyota's leading charge became the youngest-ever title-winner, while familiar returning faces mixed it up with the new generation. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers from the year

WRC
Dec 5, 2022
The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title Plus

The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title

With only cameo roles played by legendary Sebastiens Ogier and Loeb, Kalle Rovanpera ushered in the new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship by becoming its youngest champion. Here's how Toyota's Flying Finn crushed the competition, led by Hyundai's departing star Ott Tanak

WRC
Dec 1, 2022
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Plus

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Plus

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Plus

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Plus

Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers are no less demanding. Autosport got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Plus

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022