Ogier seals Mexico win

Tänak and Evans fill podium places

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By Olivier Ferret

10 March 2019 - 20:26
Ogier seals Mexico win

SS19-20: Tänak grabs second

Citroën’s Sébastien Ogier is only one stage away from victory on Round 3 of the World Rally Championship, Rally México, while Toyota’s Ott Tänak won both stages so far on Sunday morning to move past Elfyn Evans into second place, demoting M-Sport’s last remaining driver to third.

A somewhat cooler set of conditions this morning – around eight degrees Celsius lower than yesterday – allowed most crews to pick a full set of medium tyres, though Ogier took a pair of hard tyres and Tänak a full set of them, with a medium tyre available as a spare.

While Ogier managed his gap carefully to remain in the lead by 24.4s with just the Power Stage still to run, Tänak pushed on in his attempt to catch Evans for second, starting the day only 2.2s behind him. Despite having a softer compound of tyre fitted to his Ford Fiesta WRC, Evans was not able to capitalise, with Tänak immediately snatching second place on the day-opening Alfaro test with a stage win.

Championship leader Tänak would go on to win the next stage – Mesa Cuata - which uses part of Friday’s legendary El Chocolate route – to extend his advantage over Evans further, heading to the Power Stage with 7.2s in hand.

Thierry Neuville had been set back by a puncture on the rally’s second stage, El Chocolate, but steadily rose to fourth as others hit trouble during the following two days. His fourth place looks assured, several minutes ahead of Kris Meeke in fifth but well out of the podium fight, 54.8s adrift of Evans. Toyota Yaris pilot Meeke took a very conservative approach to Alfaro, going nearly a minute slower than team-mate Tanak in an effort to preserve his tyres for a run at Power Stage glory on Las Minas.

Benito Guerra is one stage away from taking his first FIA WRC 2 victory on home soil, the Mexican driver also holding sixth overall by several minutes from Jari-Matti Latvala behind. Latvala retired on Friday with an alternator failure and returned the next day, making his way up the order since. He started Sunday with his sights set on Bolivia’s Marco Bulacia Wilkinson but faced an immediate setback, being handed a one minute penalty for illegally working on his Yaris in the light fitting zone before the Léon superspecial last night. Despite the penalty, Latvala passed Bulacia Wilkinson on Mesa Cuata anyway, holding a 3.3s advantage over him heading to the Power Stage. Bulacia Wilkinson’s second place in the FIA WRC2 is still safe, with over half an hour in hand over third placed Alberto Heller from Chile.

Dani Sordo moved into ninth on Alfaro, having started Sunday only 0.1s behind reigning NACAM Rally champion Ricardo Trivino, though is nearly five minutes behind Bulacia Wilkinson. Trivino looks set to score the final World Championship point for 10th, with over 11 minutes in hand over Sordo’s Hyundai team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen heading to the Power Stage.

SS21: Ogier seals Mexico win

Sébastien Ogier claimed his fifth Rally Guanajuato Mexico victory on Sunday afternoon to climb to second in the FIA World Rally Championship.

The Frenchman, driving a Citroën C3, was never headed after taking the lead on Friday afternoon and won the season’s third round by 30.2sec.

Ott Tänak outgunned Elfyn Evans in a final day fight through dusty mountain roads near León to secure second and retain the series lead. The Estonian, driving a Toyota Yaris, finished 19.7sec clear of the Welshman’s Ford Fiesta.

Ogier won a thrilling live TV Wolf Power Stage by 0.025sec from Kris Meeke’s Yaris to claim five bonus points. Meeke took four with Thierry Neuville, driving a Hyundai i20, scoring three in third. Dani Sordo, in another i20, and Esapekka Lappi, driving a C3, took two and one point respectively.

More news to follow.

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