report: part 2
We complete our review of the leading WRC drivers from last weekend’s dusty action at Rally Mexico.
Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta RS)
Hard to believe this was only the Welshman’s fourth outing in a World Rally Car. On his first appearance in Mexico, he was told to learn the roads, complete all the stages and bring the car home to the finish. Did all of those without any serious mistakes and in a career-best fourth place as well. Now lies fifth in the championship. A quite outstanding performance – and all achieved with a smile.
Chris Atkinson (Hyundai i20)
Atkinson endured as many problems on Friday morning as some drivers encounter in a season. But, crucially, none were of his making. He battled through them all and, alongside Neuville, delivered Hyundai’s target of bringing both cars to the finish. For a team doing its testing in public, that was exactly what was needed. We reckon we might see him back in the car again in Argentina…..
Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Polo R)
Mexico was a rally Latvala could never win from first on the road on Friday in the worst of the conditions. But minimised his time loss in the loose gravel and then capitalised on the mistakes of others. Refused to be drawn into trying to achieve the unattainable and catch Ogier. The new, mature Latvala was happy to think of the championship and bag points for second.
Mads Ostberg (Citroen DS3)
Took the fight to Ogier in the first leg and led the rally. Made a costly mistake on Saturday morning when he hit a bank hard, broke his car’s rear suspension and retired pretty much in the same place as in 2013. Made valiant efforts to make a ‘Viking fix’ but it wasn’t enough. Disappointing end, but strong pace on his first gravel outing with Citroen bodes well.
Robert Kubica (Ford Fiesta RS)
Where to start? Two rolls in two days to add to two recce accidents, several trips into the Swedish snow and a Monte-Carlo shunt weren’t in the pre-season plan. The Pole has the pace and was fourth before his first crash. But he needs to sacrifice some speed to ensure he gains the experience he needs. Desperately needs a clean run in Portugal to boost his confidence and team boss Malcolm Wilson is looking at bringing in expert help.
Benito Guerra (Ford Fiesta RS)
A career-best sixth might just earn him the financial support he needs to go to Argentina in May. Only his second event in a World Rally Car and found his feet quickly in the Fiesta after using a DS3 12 months ago. Smacked the car sideways into a tree in Otatitos on Saturday, but did little else wrong and gave his home fans someone to get behind. Deserves the chance for another outing.