Ogier Wins but Loeb Stars in Mexico

Sebastien Ogier reclaimed the World Rally Championship points lead with a dominant victory on Rally Mexico, beating Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke. Despite running second on the road the M-Sport Fiesta driver put in a series of blistering stage times to remain within striking distance of early rally leader Sordo and the Citroens of Meeke and series returnee Sebastien Loeb. Sordo won two stages on Friday to lead from Meeke, but Loeb marked his first WRC round since Monte Carlo 2015 by usurping the Spaniard on Saturday morning with two stage victories of his own.

Both Sordo and Loeb then suffered front-left punctures on Saturday afternoon, allowinh Ogier to hit the front and from then on, took four stage wins to extend his lead over Meeke, who spun three times on SS20, with the world champion going on to claim his second win of the season.

Loeb hit a stone and lost more than two minutes when he and co-driver Daniel Elena stopped to change a wheel. Meeke would have challenged Ogier more were it not for two spins in successive stages, the latter on a narrow piece of road which forced the Northern Irishman to drive the wrong way to rotate the car. A further half-roll on SS20 after sliding on a cobbled hairpin cost Meeke another 45 seconds, dropping him behind Sordo to third. Great performances from Pontus Tidemand, who took WRC2 honours at a canter and Gus Greensmith, claiming superb seventh and ninth places in the overall top-ten results respectively.

Top Ten Finishers
Pos.....Driver .....Team ..... Car ..... Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT 3h53m58.0s
2. Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 1m13.6s
3. Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 1m29.2s
4. Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 1m48.4s
5. Sebastien Loeb, D.Elena Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 2m34.6s
6. Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 9m13.0s
7. Pontus Tidemand, J.Andersson Skoda Motorsport 10m34.7s
8. Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 15m47.1s
9. Gus Greensmith, C.Parry Ford 17m19.3s
10. Pedro Heller, P.Olmos Ford 24m28.1s

12th March, 2018