WRC - Ogier secures fith victory on Rally México & close the gap on Tänak | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC - Ogier secures fith victory on Rally México & close the gap on Tänak

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Rally Mexico 2019 - Sunday

Rally Mexico - S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia

Frenchmen Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia delivered a remarkable performance in the final three gravel stages on Round 3 of the World Rally Championship to secure their fifth victory on Sunday and a record eigth win for Citroën in Mexico. Ott Tänak and his co-driver Martin Järveoja from Estonia fought their way up to second place at the wheel of their Toyota Yaris while M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin completed the WRC podium. Benito Guerra delighted the home crowd with sixth overall and the victory in the FIA WRC 2 category.

The Citroën C3 WRC crew duly confirmed their 46th WRC victory on an event where their outstanding career started with a win in the FIA Junior WRC Championship back in 2008.

Leading by 27 seconds at the end of Saturday, Ogier was never allowed to rest on his laurels by a hard-charging Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans, both of whom were fighting for second place.

2019 championship leader Tänak was the star of the morning as the Toyota Yaris WRC driver claimed two stage wins to secure second place. But Ogier had a winning margin of 30.2 seconds and also managed to whittle the Estonian’s advantage over him at the top of the Drivers’ Championship down from 16 to four points with five additional Power Stage bonus points.

Evans, steering the ship for M-Sport Ford after Teemu Suninen’s premature retirement on Friday, delivered an impressive performance in his Fiesta WRC to round off the podium places and earn vital points for the team. He finished 19.7 seconds behind his Estonian rival after incurring a 10-second penalty for arriving late on the final Power Stage.

Too far adrift to challenge for the podium after a difficult start to the event, Thierry Neuville had to settle for fourth overall and lost his second place in the championship to Ogier. His result was the only high point in a frustrating event for Hyundai, which saw both early leader Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo – who had been up to second - pushed out of contention after problems on Friday. The Norwegian and the Spaniard finished the rally in 11th and ninth overall, respectively.

Toyota’s Kris Meeke led outright for one stage on Saturday morning, before a puncture, suspension damage and then a gearbox issue cost him any chance of challenging for the podium. The Ulsterman conserved his tyres on the first two stages of the final day in an attempt to win the Power Stage. He was rewarded with second on the test, catching four bonus points and an eventual fifth overall.

Mexican Benito Guerra delighted the home crowds by equalling his best ever finishing position of sixth overall at his home event. On this occasion, the Škoda Fabia R5 driver achieved the success in a WRC 2 car, however, and maximum points in the FIA WRC 2 class were an added bonus for the México City man. His winning margin was 3min 16sec.

Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala suffered alternator woes on Friday evening that dropped his Toyota Yaris WRC out of contention, but the veteran of 198 WRC rallies fought back strongly to try and displace Bolivian youngster Marco Bulacia on the final morning to claim eighth place, despite a late radiator scare.

Eighteen-year-old Bulacia belied his lack of experience to finish second in the FIA WRC 2 category behind team-mate Guerra and in an impressive seventh overall. Mexican driver Ricardo Triviño was classified in 10th place in his Škoda Fabia R5.

Poland’s Lukasz Pieniazek bounced back from his Friday retirement to reach the finish of his first event outside Europe in twelfth overall. The result enabled the unchallenged Ford Fiesta R5 driver to claim much-needed maximum points in theFIA WRC 2 Pro class, as he looked to close to gap on series leader Gus Greensmith. The Pole said he gained a lot of experience and confidence on the demanding Mexican stages.

2019 Rally Guanajuato México – Final unofficial results (subject to scrutineering)

1. Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA)

Citroën C3 WRC

3hrs 37min 08.0sec

2. Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST)       

Toyota Yaris WRC

3hrs 37min 38.2sec

3. Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR)

Ford Fiesta WRC

3hrs 37min 57.9sec

4. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

3hrs 38min 35.0sec

5. Kris Meeke (GBR)/Sebastian Marshall (GBR)

Toyota Yaris WRC

3hrs 43min 14.2sec

6. Benito Guerra (MEX)/Jaime Zapata (MEX)

Škoda Fabia R5 (WRC 2)    

3hrs 52min 43.5sec

7. Marco Bulacia (BOL)/Fabian Cretu (ARG)

Škoda Fabia R5 (WRC 2)

3hrs 55min 59.5sec

8. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN)

Toyota Yaris WRC

3hrs 56min 03.9sec

9. Dani Sordo (ESP)/Carlos del Barrio (ESP)

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

3hrs 59min 52.1sec

10. Ricardo Triviño (MEX)/Marc Marti (ESP)

Škoda Fabia R5 (WRC 2)    

4hrs 07min 21.8sec