Mexico WRC: Mikkelsen leads, puncture for Neuville

Hyundai's Andreas Mikkelsen has taken an early lead on Rally Mexico, while his World Rally Championship teammate Thierry Neuville suffered a puncture and sits only ninth.

Mexico WRC: Mikkelsen leads, puncture for Neuville

Stage wins on both El Chocolate, the longest stage of the rally, and the short Leon city stage have handed Mikkelsen a 1.6s advantage over second-placed Sebastien Ogier, who had set the pace on the Ortega test.

Ogier had coped with a high position in the running order and the subsequent lack of grip favourably in comparison to his title rivals Neuville and championship leader Ott Tanak, as both are languishing at the lower end of the points.

Neuville encountered trouble barely three miles into El Chocolate, hitting a stone which the Belgian suggested had been dragged into his path by Tanak, who had started ahead of him.

Hyundai’s main contender for the drivers’ championship sustained a puncture to his rear left wheel, with Neuville dropping 44.1s to teammate Mikkelsen.

Teemu Suninen crashed out on the same stage, sustaining heavy impact to his Ford Fiesta WRC’s front right corner after an impact and becoming stuck nose-first on the edge of a small drop at the side of the road.

WRC returnee Dani Sordo, who sat out the Monte Carlo Rally and Rally Sweden in his Hyundai seat-sharing arrangement with Sebastien Loeb, benefitted from running last on the road and having the rest of the field ahead of him to clean the loose gravel surface.

He remains in touch with the leading pair of Mikkelsen and Ogier, only 2.7s off the lead.

M-Sport’s sole remaining driver Elfyn Evans moved up to fourth on Ortega, demoting lead Toyota driver Kris Meeke to fifth place. The pair are separated by 1.5s after the morning loop of Friday stages.

Meeke’s teammate Jari-Matti Latvala is sixth, 7.5s behind Meeke and engaged in a battle with former teammate Esapekka Lappi.

Citroen’s second driver was overnight leader after winning Thursday evening’s Guanajuato superspecial but immediately dropped back and is currently 3.4s off Latvala.

Rally Sweden winner Tanak struggled for traction, bearing the brunt of sweeping loose gravel away as first car on the road.

He was only prevented from being last of the WRC runners by Neuville’s puncture, though the gap between the pair held relatively steady after El Chocolate and now stands at 21.7s.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, M-Sport Ford, Ford Fiesta WRC 2019

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, M-Sport Ford, Ford Fiesta WRC 2019
1/5

Photo by: M-Sport

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, M-Sport Ford, Ford Fiesta WRC 2019

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, M-Sport Ford, Ford Fiesta WRC 2019
2/5

Photo by: M-Sport

Dani Sordo, Carlos Del Barrio, Hyundai Motorsport

Dani Sordo, Carlos Del Barrio, Hyundai Motorsport
3/5

Photo by: Hyundai Motorsport

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
4/5

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota Yaris WRC 2019

Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota Yaris WRC 2019
5/5

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
"Dangerous" WRC jump criticised after stage cancellation

Previous article

"Dangerous" WRC jump criticised after stage cancellation

Next article

Mexico WRC: Mikkelsen retirement hands Ogier rally lead

Mexico WRC: Mikkelsen retirement hands Ogier rally lead
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Event Rally Mexico
Drivers Sébastien Ogier , Andreas Mikkelsen
Teams Hyundai Motorsport
Author Alasdair Lindsay
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. We rank the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021