Mexico WRC: Ogier extends lead, disaster strikes Hyundai

Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Mexico after Friday’s eight stages, as a disastrous day for Hyundai left Thierry Neuville the lowest placed WRC car and its other two cars retired.

Mexico WRC: Ogier extends lead, disaster strikes Hyundai

Reigning world champion Ogier was a class apart compared to title rivals Neuville and Ott Tanak, winning three of the full-length gravel stages on his way to establishing a 14.8s lead despite his early road order position.

Despite picking up a puncture on the Las Minas stage, Ogier was relatively unaffected, dropping only 4.2s to his closest rival Elfyn Evans.

Neuville had also suffered a puncture on the very first stage this morning, the first pass of El Chocolate. He was less fortunate than Ogier, losing over 40 seconds and dropping to the rear of the WRC field for the rest of the day.

His Hyundai teammates had initially fared much better, with Andreas Mikkelsen leading at midday service. But come the re-run of El Chocolate, he was forced to pull over and retire with as yet unspecific damage to his i20.

Dani Sordo, making his first WRC appearance this year in place of Sebastien Loeb, then became Ogier’s closest rival, less than five seconds behind after the re-run of Ortega.

His challenge came to an end immediately afterwards, a battery issue stranding him on the road section between Ortega and Las Minas and forcing his retirement.

Hyundai’s woes handed M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans second place and promoted lead Toyota driver Kris Meeke to third, the duo separated by 6.3s.

A strong time from Evans on the afternoon pass of El Chocolate, along with dust slowly filling the cabin of Meeke’s Yaris on both Ortega and Las Minas, caused their gap to expand as the afternoon progressed.

Jari-Matti Latvala looked set to end the day fourth but retired at the time control for the Autodromo de Leon superspecial, his Yaris running out of steam with a suspected alternator failure.

Latvala appeared to have been nursing the problem all afternoon, having arrived at several stage ends revving the engine of his Yaris.

His Toyota teammate Tanak was the main beneficiary, moving up to fourth place on the Autodromo di Leon superspecial despite struggling all day with road sweeping as first driver on the road.

He demoted Esapekka Lappi to fifth, having caught up with him suddenly when the Citroen driver lost time on Ortega by clipping a tree and pitching his C3 into a spin.

A despondent Neuville suggested he has nothing to fight for after the Las Minas stage, yet finished the day sixth, 21.6s behind Lappi.

Though he is the lowest placed WRC car still running, Neuville should get a reasonable running order position on Saturday because of the number of cars likely to return under Rally2 and therefore go onto the stages ahead of the rally frontrunners.

Teemu Suninen, who retired early on the morning pass of El Chocolate, will not join the Rally2 returnees - having clipped a rockface that destroyed his Ford Fiesta.

The high rate of attrition has promoted Bolivian teenager Marco Bulacia Wilkinson to seventh place overall in a Skoda Fabia R5.

Wilkinson also leads the WRC2 support category, trading places with 2019 Race of Champions winner Benito Guerra in the morning loop before establishing a 9.8s advantage by day's end.

shares
comments
Mexico WRC: Mikkelsen retirement hands Ogier rally lead

Previous article

Mexico WRC: Mikkelsen retirement hands Ogier rally lead

Next article

Hyundai can't afford poor WRC reliability, says team boss

Hyundai can't afford poor WRC reliability, says team boss
Load comments
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
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