Loeb storms into Rally Mexico lead

Stephen Brunsdon
This article first appeared on autosport.com

Sebastien Loeb moved into the lead of Rally Mexico following his third stage victory of the event, as Citroen dominated the morning loop.

Nine-time world champion Loeb had closed in on erstwhile rally leader Dani Sordo, and beat the Hyundai driver by 12 seconds through the opening pass of Guanajuatito.

Citroen team-mate Kris Meeke backed up the squad’s strong showing by setting the fastest time on SS12 (Otates 1) as the battle for victory intensified ahead of service.

Sordo recouped some of the time lost and ate into Loeb’s lead, which had grown to six seconds, as a strong showing through the El Brinco stage helped the Spaniard reduce the deficit to Loeb to just 2.9s heading into the afternoon loop.

World champion Sebastien Ogier produced a strong run through the fast and twisty sections of road to move himself firmly into podium contention.

Ogier took four seconds out of nearest rival Meeke on SS11 and a further 3.5 seconds in SS13, setting the best time through the stage

Ogier and Meeke now hold joint third place at service, 15.5 seconds behind leader Loeb.

Toyota endured yet more pain as Ott Tanak dropped out of a podium position due to an engine issue with his Yaris WRC.

Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi both hit trouble on a frustrating opening day of the rally, with Lappi resigned to Rally2 and Latvala well down the order after an alternator failure.

After battling Ogier hard on Friday, Andreas Mikkelsen dropped out of contention, with the Norwegian at a loss over his lack of pace.

Mikkelsen, though, still holds fifth, albeit nearly a minute behind Ogier, with three minutes ahead of Hyundai colleague Thierry Neuville.

In WRC2, Pontus Tidemand maintains a comfortable lead and broke into the top 10 overall in seventh, some nine minutes clear of Latvala.

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Loeb, D.Elena Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2h34m48.5s
2 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 2.9s
3 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 15.5s
4 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 15.5s
5 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 1m05.2s
6 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 4m08.6s
7 Pontus Tidemand, J.Andersson Skoda Motorsport Skoda 6m53.4s
8 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 15m30.5s
9 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 29m25.0s
10 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 31m51.5s

Recent news

Column

Who I have my money on for the BTCC title

By Matt James

Rallying News

Citroen: Meeke was 'not under control'

Citroen World Rally team principal Pierre Budar felt Kris Meeke was out of control and left...

Karting: The secrets to PF International

As part of our special investigation into the world of karting, we got former karting star and...

Racing News

BTCC driver Moffat quits TCR UK

British Touring Car Championship driver Aiden Moffat has exited the TCR UK championship, with...

Rallying News

Citroen: C3 design saved Meeke in crash

Citroen team principal Pierre Budar believes the design of the manufacturer's C3 World Rally...

Rallying News

Triple ERC champion makes WRC2 move

Reigning three-time European Rally champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz will move into the World Rally...

Taking on the European karting scene

The international karting paddock has witnessed its fair share of talented British drivers in...

Column

Silverstone's rallycross adventure

By Matt James

Rallying News

Electric Mitsubishi rally car being developed

Swedish outfit Mpart has started developing an electric Mitsubishi rally car built around R5...

Rallying News

New WRC GB route a missed opportunity - Evans

Last year's Rally GB winner Elfyn Evans feels the revamped route for Wales' 2018 World Rally...

Rallying News

Rally seeding rules relaxed

Two-wheel drive and historic rally cars will be able to run first on the road on rally events...

Rallying News

MN Road Rally legends to attend Speed and Rally Show forum

Legends of the Motoring News Road Rally Championship will attend a forum at this weekend’s...

Rallying News

New push to get privateers back in WRC

World Rally Championship organisers are mounting a new push to get privateers back in the series'...

Rallying News

Toyota rules out team orders to boost Tanak

Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen has ruled out making Ott Tanak a clear number one and imposing...

Exploring karting's family tree

It’s commonly defined by professional racing drivers as the purest form of motorsport. It’s...

Rallying News

Kelly to make surprise Killarney return

Manus Kelly will make a surprise visit to the International Rally of the Lakes in Killarney...

Rallying News

Rally GB to unveil major route revamp

A significantly different route for Rally GB 2018, Britain's World Rally Championship round,...

Rallying News

Rovanpera hospitalised after Argentina crash

Kalle Rovanpera was hospitalised for checks after crashing out of the Rally Argentina WRC2 lead...

Rallying News

Ford sets out conditions for works RX return

Ford wants to see how the future of rallycross develops amid changes in America and plans for...

Racing News

Ingram takes victory in Donington Race 2

Tom Ingram became the first two-time winner in this season's British Touring Car Championship...

Racing News

Cook claims maiden BTCC victory

Josh Cook has broken his victory duck in the British Touring Car Championship, taking his Power...

Racing News

Cook takes first BTCC pole at Donington Park

Josh Cook has taken his maiden British Touring Car Championship pole position after heading...

1 2 3 52

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

X