Mexico WRC: Ogier seals victory on shortened rally

Nick Garton

 

The dominant driver of his era delivered a command performance to join fellow French legend Sebastien Loeb as the only six-time winners of the event.

The finish arrived early on year’s Rally Mexico after being shorn of the three scheduled stages on Sunday morning in order to give teams and media time to beat the forthcoming travel shutdown in the USA and Europe.

In what transpired to be the final loop of the rally, Ogier maintained sufficient speed on each of the six special stages to take the win by a margin of 27.8 seconds from the Hyundai i20 WRC of 2019 world champion Ott Tanak.

In a hard-fought battle for the runner-up position, Tanak overcame steely resistance from M-Sport driver Teemu Suninen, whose performance at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta WRC was one of the event’s highlights.

Behind these three podium finishers, the Toyotas of Britain’s Elfyn Evans and rising star Kalle Rovanpera finished in fourth and fifth respectively, after battling through today’s stages from less-than-favourable road positions.

Young British driver Gus Greensmith was the sixth WRC car home at the end of only his fifth outing in the sport’s top echelon.

The final classified finisher in the premier class was Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, who restarted under Rally 2 regulations after an electrical failure late yesterday.

After a convenient delay led to a more favourable road position for the majority of today’s running, the Belgian duly won five of the remaining eight stages, ceding just three fastest times to team-mate Tanak.

In WRC2, Sweden’s Pontus Tidemund just got his lone Skoda Fabia R5 across the line 2.97 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Hyundai’s Russian driver Nikolai Gryazin. In WRC3 a dominant win fell to Bolivia’s Marco Bulacia Wilkinson at the wheel of his Citroen C3 R5.

With the next round, Rally Argentina, postponed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the next scheduled event will be the Rally Portugal in May unless the global health situation continues to impact the WRC calendar.