Meeke wins in Mexica despite late off!

Despite leading Rally Mexico from the first full day, Kris Meeke survived an unintentional excursion into a car park on the final stage of Rally Mexico to give Citroen its first World Rally Championship victory of 2017. Meeke had built a 40 seconds lead over second-place man Sebastien Ogier before the final stage and was in full control of proceedings, before understeering off on the powerstage, narrowly avoiding some parked cars but he was able to recover to the road, and claimed victory by a margin of 13.8s, his fourth career WRC win and first for Citroen's new-for-2017 C3 WRC car, in a stunning finale!

Meeke had been second after Thursday's opening superspecial in Mexico City but took the lead as on Friday after the morning's stages were cancelled as trucks carrying the cars back to Leon from the capital got caught in heavy traffic!

While the M-Sport Fords, Hyundai and Toyota all struggled on the opening day with varying powerplant issues, Meeke sailed through relatively unscathed and a spin for a second consecutive event on Saturday afternoon meant that Ogier could not challenge for the lead when Meeke's margin had been just over 20s, and later lost another 10s.

But Ogier held a comfortable second all the while, with his podium finish allowing him to retake the championship lead and extend M-Sports manufacturers' points lead. Thierry Neuville was left reeling from a fuel filter issue that plagued Friday, but was able to finish a rally for the first time in 2017 after crashing on the Saturday of the first two rounds in Monte Carlo and Sweden.

He took third in his Hyundai i20, and also grabbed the maximum five points for winning the power stage. Ott Tanak finished off the podium for the first time in 2017 in fourth place, heading the second i20 of Hayden Paddon who, like Tanak, had dispatched the Toyota of Juho Hanninen to take his place on the leaderboard Saturday afternoon.

Jari-Matti Latvala took sixth in the lead Toyota Yaris, the Finn losing over two minutes sweeping the road with engine concerns on Friday and the championship lead in the process. Latvala's team-mate Juho Hanninen took seventh despite suffering from illness all weekend, ahead of Dani Sordo - who had a rollercoaster event.

Sordo suffered the fuel filter issues that plagued his team-mates, but was also given a 10-minute penalty for not finishing Friday's superspecial that was later overturned. Elfyn Evans was ninth, having been handicapped by a five-minute penalty for changing his engine pre-event. The Welshman did however score another fastest stage time in his DMACK M-Sport Fiesta.

A titanic battle for WRC2 honours was decided on the penultimate stage as M-Sport and Skoda works drivers Eric Camilli and Pontus Tidemand duelled for the win. Camilli had unseated Rally Sweden winner Tidemand on Saturday after taking chunks of time, including 20s alone on the first stage of the morning. But on the penultimate stage of the day Tidemand took the lead back with a rapid time, combined with Camilli gambling on a wet set-up for rain that never arrived. The Swede secured 10th overall and the win.

Final Result:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 3h22m04.6s
2 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport World Rally Team 13.8s
3 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport 59.7s
4 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja M-Sport World Rally Team 2m18.3s
5 Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai Motorsport 3m32.9s
6 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC m40.3s
7 Juho Hanninen, K.Lindstrom Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC 5m06.2s
8 Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport 5m22.7s
9 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team 8m41.8s
10 Pontus Tidemand, J.Andersson Skoda Motorsport 10m51.9s

12th March, 2017