Kris Meeke of Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT won the 2017 Rally Guanajuato Mexico in one of the most dramatic ways. The Northern Ireland driver almost threw away victory when he crashed off the road into a spectator car park of 750 meters ahead of the finish line. The 37-year-old was leading the race at that point of time with a fantastic 40-second lead over Sebastien Ogier.
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Meeke drove around parked vehicles in search for a way back onto the road and he eventually regained the track and finished the line with a puncture. In this late drama, the 37.2 second lead was reduced to 13.8 seconds. Meeke clinched his fourth career win, while Citroen marked its first win of the season in Mexico.
"I got caught out on a bump after the jump at a fast right corner. I'm a lucky boy. That's certainly one way to finish a rally and I didn't need that," said Meeke. "I was desperately trying to find my way out of the parked cars and find a gap in the hedge. A lot of things went my way...," he added.
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Season opener Rally Monte Carlo winner Ogier finished second in his Ford Fiesta for M-Sport. The runner-up position helped him leapfrog Jari-Matti Latvala to lead the championship by eight points. Hyundai's Thierry Neuville finished third, taking extra 45.9 seconds compared to the winner. It was a great relief for the Belgian after crashing out in both first and second rallies of the season.
Ott Tanak, team mate of Ogier of M-Sport finished fourth ahead of Hayden Paddon. The Kiwi encountered several technical problems, but this was still his best result of the season. Rally Sweden winner Latvala struggled in Mexico. He and his Toyota Gazoo teammate Juho Hanninen finished the rally sixth and seventh, respectively. Dani Sordo, Elfyn Evans and WRC 2 winner Pontus Tidemand completed the leader board.
Fourth round of WRC 2017, Tour de Corse - Rallye de France is scheduled from April 6 to 9.