Sebastien Ogier extended his lead of Rally Mexico with four stage wins heading into the final leg on Sunday, closing in on his second win of the 2018 season
Ogier had shown impressive pace throughout Saturday after commencing the day in fifth, and that rapid pace coupled with issues for early leaders Dani Sordo and Sebastien Loeb saw the Frenchman take the lead of the rally just after the lunch break and service, leapfrogging himself from third to first in the process. Loeb and Sordo both suffered punctures, Loeb dropping over two minutes and Sordo 30 seconds, thus staying within 17 seconds of Ogier come the end of SS14. Ogier still had a fight on his hands with Kris Meeke, who’s Citroen was just under four seconds behind the M-Sport Ford.
But Ogier didn’t let the Northern Irishman come any closer. He showed tremendous speed throughout the rest of the day to go over 35 seconds clear of the Citroen and put himself in prime position to win his second event of 2018. Ogier is 35.9 seconds ahead of Meeke who cannot rest on his laurels himself, with a determined Sordo just under 11 seconds behind as he bids to at least take the runner up spot in the event. Loeb’s huge time loss has ruled him out of contention of even a podium place on his WRC comeback.
Issue’s for everyone else has left the majority of the field spread out. Ott Tanak’s earlier engine issues meant he was retired for the day very early on, Jari-Matti Latvala was down the order and championship leader Thierry Neuville was only in sixth thanks to various issues, including a fuel pump problem during the street stage. The Belgian lacked pace overall and suffered a cut out following a water splash and two punctures of his own, to cap a miserable day for the other Hyundai drivers. Andreas Mikklesen is in fourth but nowhere near podium contention unless any of the top three have problems on the final three stages. Esapekka Lappi also suffered from engine issues in his Toyota, and went the same way as teammate Tanak.