WRC - Ogier sets the pace on a drama-packed Day One on Rally Mexico | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC - Ogier sets the pace on a drama-packed Day One on Rally Mexico

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Rally Mexico - Friday afternoon

WRC Rally Mexico - Sébastien Ogier

Defending World Champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia defied their disadvantageous starting position to turn the heat up on their rivals with their Citroën C3 WRC after five afternoon stages on Rally Mexico’s Day One. M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans survived the carnage to hold second and Toyota’s Kris Meeke is in third place.

After a dramatic afternoon, which saw both Hyundai drivers Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo retire whilst holding first and second overall respectively – Mikkelsen was forced to stop in the stage and Sordo had an electrical fall-out - Ogier overcame a puncture to deliver a near-faultless display for Citroën to grab an overnight advantage of 14.8 seconds. The Frenchman said he was a lot happier with the grip and the conditions in the afternoon, which enabled him to manage his pace and keep a good starting position for the next day.

It was a leg of mixed fortunes for the M-Sport team. Elfyn Evans delivered a solid performance in his Ford Fiesta WRC to hold second place overnight. Teemu Suninen, on the other hand, crashed in this morning’s El Chocolate stage, his Ford Fiesta coming to rest hanging off the side of the track with front and rear damage.

Kris Meeke was Toyota Gazoo Racing’s shining light on an event where the Yaris WRC has struggled to achieve good results in the last two years. The Brit held third overall at the end of Day One, 6.3 seconds behind Evans.

A fascinating duel developed between Meeke’s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala and fellow Finn Esapekka Lappi for fifth. The duo traded stage times, but it was Latvala who sneaked ahead in Ortega 2 to head the Scandinavian challenge. He was promoted to fourth when Sordo was sidelined later on, but then suffered his own reported alternator issues on the road section to the last two stages and retired.

Lappi was overtaken by Ott Tänak and reached the León Service Park in fifth while series leader Tänak and 2018 WRC runner-up Thierry Neuville were made to pay for their unfavourable starting positions – not to mention a flat tyre in the first stage of the day for the Belgian - to hold fourth and sixth.

Bolivia’s Marco Bulacia and Mexico’s Benito Guerra became embroiled in a fascinating battle for the FIA WRC 2 honours. The 18-year-old held a 0.3-second lead over the local hero at the midday service and went on to finish the leg 9.8 seconds in front of the Mexican in seventh overall.

Poland’s Lukasz Pieniazek - the sole FIA WRC 2 Pro entrant with a Ford Fiesta R5 – at to retire from Leg one with car damage in Ortega 2.

Tomorrow the crews will tackle two loops of three gravel stages and three spectator specials.


2019 Rally Guanajuato México – Unofficial results after Section 2 (end of Day One):

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

Citroën C3 WRC

1hr 18min 33.8sec

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

Ford Fiesta WRC

1hr 18min 48.6sec

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

Toyota Yaris WRC

1hr 18min 54.9sec

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

Toyota Yaris WRC

1hr 19min 10.9sec

5. Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN)

Citroën C3 WRC

1hr 19min 12.9sec

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

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

1hr 19min 34.5sec

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

Škoda Fabia R5 (WRC 2)

1hr 23min 49.9sec

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

Škoda Fabia R5 (WRC 2)

1hr 23min 59.7sec 

9. Alberto Heller (CHIL)/ José Diaz (ARG)       

Ford Fiesta R5 (WRC 2)

1h 25min 05.3sec

10. R. Trivino Bujalil (MEX) / M. Marti Moreno (ESP)

Škoda Fabia R5

1h 27min41.0sec