WRC

Rally Mexico 2018: Ogier takes championship lead with comfortable win, Meeke rolls out of second

Sebastien Ogier took a dominant Rally Mexico win and reclaimed the championship lead from Thierry Neuville as Kris Meeke rolled his Citroen and dropped to third in the rally

Following the issues for Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo on Saturday, Ogier found himself suddenly into the lead following SS14 after starting that stage in third place. Meeke though was in a close second, just under four seconds behind the M-Sport Ford driver. But four stage wins and blistering pace saw Ogier’s lead go to over 35 seconds by the close of play on Saturday, meaning he was in position to take a hugely comfortable win in the rally despite not looking like he could do so before Saturday afternoon. Sordo had been the early rally leader before Loeb took over the at the top on Saturday morning, but punctures that resulted in a two minute time loss for Loeb and a 30 second loss for Sordo saw Ogier lead heading into Saturday afternoon.

Following his dominant showing for the rest of the day, he continued to hold an advantage throughout the end of the rally on Sunday. Meeke may well have been able to challenge for the overall lead had it not been for spins on SS7 and SS8, the latter of those spins on a narrow road that made it difficult for Meeke to point his car back in the right direction. A half roll on SS20 cost the Northern Irishman over 45 seconds and it dropped him behind Sordo who reclaimed the runner up spot he had lost on Saturday afternoon. Loeb’s puncture meant he finished the event in fifth. Ogier meanwhile cruised to his second victory of the year and has retaken the championship lead from Thierry Neuville, who had a tough event.

A fuel pump issue, loss of power steering and an engine cut out lead to the Frenchman only managing to finish the event in sixth place, with teammate Andreas Mikklesen finish a distant fourth and 20 odd seconds behind Meeke’s Citroen. The brutal nature of the rally showed. All three Toyota’s had a nightmare of a rally, which lead to WRC2 winner Potus Tidemand finishing the event seventh overall in his Skoda, ahead of all three Toyota’s and Teemu Suninen’s M-Sport Ford and taking a dominant win in his class. It was a drastic change of fortunes for Toyota, with Ott Tanak looking to be in contention for the win earlier in the event before suffering engine issues, a fate that befell Esapekka Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala, the engines overheating thanks to the cars issues at taking in air at high altitude.

Power stage and overall rally results. Credit: Michelin Motorsport Twitter

Driver’s standings
1: Sebastien Ogier 60
2: Thierry Neuville 51
3: Andreas Mikkelsen 34
4: Kris Meeke 32
5: Jari-Matti Latvala 30
6: Ott Tanak 26
7: Esapekka Lappi 23
8: Craig Breen 20
9: Dani Sordo 18
10: Sebastien Loeb 10

 

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