Solberg leads into day two in Mexico

Petter Solberg maintains his advantage into day two of the Rally Mexico after the leaders eschewed the opportunity to slow and gain better road positions for Saturday

Solberg leads into day two in Mexico

With the Mexican stages extremely dusty, the drivers early in the running order have struggled for grip all day, while those further down the start list - such as Solberg and current second place man Sebastien Ogier - have benefited from cleaner stages.

As the problem is expected to be even worse tomorrow, most drivers anticipated that at least some of the frontrunners would slow down on today's final full-length stage to try and drop places and ensure a better starting spot for leg two.

But instead the top crews all went through this afternoon's stages flat-out, with Solberg leading Ogier by 15s at the end of the day.

"I have no reason to slow down," said Solberg. "I'm here to drive as fast as possible, and then we will see the result on the last day - and that's it. I'm not here for playing. I have no plan, no strategy, I just want to get back on top again. I have no problem with being first on the road tomorrow, I'll take it as it comes."

Ogier won the last three stages of the day to trim a few seconds from Solberg's lead. The Citroen Junior driver acknowledged that starting tomorrow from second would be tough, but was undaunted.

"For sure the road position helped me a lot, but now it will be different tomorrow," Ogier said. "But okay, it's part of the learning process for me to try to clean the road."

Sebastien Loeb is now in a good position for Saturday, as he holds third place, 27s down on Solberg.

"A very good first day for me, we couldn't do better," said the Citroen number one. "Second on the road seems to be much better than first, but those behind are very fast. I'm satisfied with my day."

Loeb's cause was aided by Mikko Hirvonen's unhappy day. Ford's lead driver was off the pace throughout the leg and is only sixth behind Dani Sordo (Citroen) and Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford). Hirvonen, who lost over a minute to Solberg, did not think his lack of pace was solely due to running first on the road.

"I really don't believe it, that was a really perfect stage, a really good drive and I'm still losing time," he lamented after SS7. "I really don't understand why we are so slow."

Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg is right on Hirvonen's tail in seventh, with his team-mate Matthew Wilson eighth ahead of Federico Villagra (Munchi's Ford) and Ken Block (Monster Ford).

Kimi Raikkonen barely had a chance to feature in this rally as he clipped a rock and bent his steering on SS1, stopped for half an hour to fix a fuel pump issue on SS2, and then crashed heavily on SS7.

In S2000, returnee Xevi Pons holds a narrow lead ahead of fellow Ford man Martin Prokop, although Michal Kosciuszko had been pulling away until his Ford broke an alternator belt. Reigning champion Armindo Araujo is just 5.4s ahead of double champion Toshi Arai in a close Production class battle.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Petter Solberg Citroen 1h23m39.9s 2. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 15.0s 3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 27.5s 4. Dani Sordo Citroen + 40.8s 5. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 1m01.2s 6. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 1m31.5s 7. Henning Solberg Ford + 1m37.5s 8. Matthew Wilson Ford + 2m47.2s 9. Federico Villagra Ford + 4m19.8s 10. Ken Block Ford + 4m33.3s 
shares
comments
Raikkonen able to continue rally

Previous article

Raikkonen able to continue rally

Next article

Wilson disappointed with Ford's start

Wilson disappointed with Ford's start
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Plus

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Plus

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Plus

How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021