Ogier extends lead with four stage wins

Stephen Brunsdon
This article first appeared on autosport.com

Sebastien Ogier claimed four stage wins on Saturday afternoon to extend his Rally Mexico lead to more than 35 seconds heading into the final leg on Sunday.

The reigning World Rally champion began the day in fifth but made progress thanks to an impressive pace and some good fortune as others hit trouble.

Friday leaders Dani Sordo and Sebastien Loeb both suffered punctures on SS14, the second run of Guanajuatito, which dropped the pair out of realistic contention.

Loeb had to stop to replace his front left tyre during the stage, after hitting a rock midway through, and lost more than two minutes to Ogier.

Sordo fared marginally better, ceding 30 seconds, and the Spaniard is now third behind Citroen’s Kris Meeke.

Errant stones first halted Loeb’s Citroen C3 as the Frenchman looked set to build on his overall lead, before Sordo’s Hyundai also fell foul of the precariously placed obstacles on the stage.

Ogier’s progress up the order began earlier in the opening pass through Guanajuatito when Toyota’s Ott Tanak suffered a turbo failure and was forced to retire for the day.

The Estonian had been the only Yaris driver still in the hunt for a podium after engine overheating issues dogged team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi on Friday.

Having jumped ahead of Loeb and Sordo following their misfortunes, Ogier then catapulted his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC into the lead after Meeke endured a stall on SS13 (El Brinco) and a spin on SS15 (Otates 2).

Meeke exchanged stage wins with Sordo in the Super Special at the Leon Autodroma and remains Ogier’s nearest rival in second place, albeit 35.9s back with just three stages remaining.

Despite Sordo’s strong showing, Hyundai had another disappointing day with both Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville lacking pace.

First on the road all day, Neuville lost another minutes on the morning’s opening stage when his car cut out following a water splash.

The Belgian then suffered two punctures of his own but is set to pick up points for fifth, one place behind Mikkelsen.

Leadings positions

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 3h25m03.1s
2 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 35.9s
3 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 46.8s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 1m28.4s
5 Sebastien Loeb, D.Elena Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m19.7s
6 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 4m44.6s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 15m59.6s
8 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 32m39.0s

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