Latvala increases lead on Rally Mexico

Jari-Matti Latvala pulled clear of Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier on Saturday's Rally Mexico morning loop after a commanding performance in his Polo R WRC and made use of his lower running order position to stretch his advantage through the day's two longest stages, Ibarrilla and Otates and now holds a lead of 1m16.3s over Ogier.

Running first on the dusty road, Ogier was never better than third-quickest on any of the stages but another solid performance consolidated the Frenchman's second place overall and the fight for third is between Dani Sordo and Andreas Mikkelsen. Sordo had complained about his rhythm on the morning's opening stage, but looked as though he had recaptured some confidence but the Spaniard then spun in his Hyundai i20 WRC between the final split and the stage end, loosing 11s to Mikkelsen. With the latter marginally quicker again on SS13, the pair are now split by 14.9s - although it is Sordo still holding the final podium position.

Hayden Paddon looked as though he might join that battle with the third-fastest time on SS11, but a stage later he hit a wall early on Otates, which cost him over two minutes to Latvala's benchmark. The Kiwi was able to continue onto the final stage of the loop, El Brinco, where he recorded the fourth-fastest time - but he has once again fallen behind the M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC of Mads Ostberg to sixth overall.

Ott Tanak remains seventh in his DMACK Fiesta, ahead of fellow privateers Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli. After rejoining under Rally 2 rules, Thierry Neuville crashed on SS12 although the Belgian showed good pace in his Hyundai i20 WRC on the opening stage of the morning and through the splits before an accident in the final couple of miles of the stage. Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul were unhurt, but that the World Rally Championship medical crew had been scrambled to the scene as a precaution.

Leader Board after SS13:
Pos .... Driver .... Team .... Car .... Gap
1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen Polo 2h39m22.1s
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen Polo 1m16.3s
3. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 2m09.0s
4. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen Polo 2m23.9s
5. Mads Ostberg M-Sport World Rally Team Ford Fiesta 3m49.8s
6. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 5m02.7s
7. Ott Tanak DMACK World Rally Team Ford Fiesta 6m00.6s
8. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta 7m21.7s
9. Lorenzo Bertelli FWRT s.r.l. Ford Fiesta 7m54.2s
10. Teemu Suninen TGS Worldwide Ou Skoda Fabia 9m30.4s

5th March, 2016