Latvala wins Rally Mexico

A delighted Jari-Matti Latvala scored his first Rally Mexico victory ahead of Volkswagen World Rally Championship team-mate Sebastien Ogier and Hyundai's Dani Sordo. Latvala took the lead after a blistering run thorough Friday's first stage - El Chocolate, crushing his rivals on the remainder of that day's stages to maintain his lead throughout the event.

By Sunday morning, Latvala had extended his advantage to over 90 seconds going into the final two stages but Ogier was able to take 25.3s out of his team-mate on the 50-mile-long penultimate stage but by then his opportunity was long gone, with Latvala eventually winning by 1m05s and picking up a further two points for second on the Agua Zarca powerstage.

Mikkelsen had been charging in the third Polo R WRC but a crash on Saturday afternoon on the second run of the Otates stage put paid to his hopes of completing a Volkswagen podium clean-sweep. The Norwegian might have scored a point had he rejoined on Sunday under Rally2 rules, but after inspecting the car, Volkswagen decided the damage was too serious for his return.

Dani Sordo completed the podium, the Spaniard driving through braking and overheating issues to finish in third. Mikkelsen had been set to overtake the Hyundai driver until his crash, instead handing Sordo a comfortable run to a first podium of the season - and his team's third in as many rallies. M-Sport's Mads Ostberg was fourth in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC and moves into second in the standings, while the second Hyundai of Hayden Paddon came home fifth despite clattering a wall on the first Otates run. Ott Tanak collected his third points finish of the season in his DMACK Fiesta, with Martin Prokop seventh on his first WRC outing of 2016 and Lorenzo Bertelli eighth.

Thierry Neuville was another casualty after two crashes in his Hyundai i20 WRC. The Belgian was first forced to stop on Friday's opening stage - having been second on the leader board - but suffered a bigger crash after rejoining on Saturday morning. He and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul required a trip to hospital, although both were later discharged. With remaining WRC runners Benito Guerra and Eric Camilli also returning under Rally2, that paved the way for Teemu Suninen to finish ninth in his WRC2 Skoda Fabia R5, having seen his main rivals Armin Kremer and Nicolas Fuchs fall out of contention. Suninen finished 14m35.5s clear of 10th-placed Valery Gorban, who became the first man to score points in a Mini World Rally Car since Nathan Quinn's eighth place on Rally Australia in 2013.

Final Results after SS21:
Pos .... Driver .... Team .... Car .... Gap
1. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen Polo 4h25m57.4s
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen Polo1m05.0s
3. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 3m37.9s
4. Mads Ostberg M-Sport World Rally Team Ford Fiesta 5m36.4s
5. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 6m22.6s
6. Ott Tanak DMACK World Rally Team Ford Fiesta 9m59.5s
7. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta 12m58.5s
8. Lorenzo Bertelli FWRT s.r.l. Ford Fiesta 14m09.6s
9. Teemu Suninen TGS Worldwide Ou Skoda Fabia 18m01.8s
10. Valeriy Gorban Eurolamp WRT Mini/BMW 32m37.3s

6th March, 2016