First run in 2012, Las Minas has an unusual character for a Rally Mexico stage. It is generally narrow and twisty and also features some sharp climbs and descents. The first 6.3km are narrow, tight and technical and there’s a lot of loose gravel around. At 6.3km the stage changes and the road opens up and gets much faster.
How the action unfolded:
In a repeat of his performance on the morning loop of stages, Mads Ostberg was the fastest driver through the second running of Las Minas, this time taking a 5.2sec bite out of Sebastien Ogier’s rally lead.
The Fiesta RS driver narrowed the gap to Ogier to 18.9sec, to keep himself within striking distance of his French rival. “I don’t know why we’ve done so well on this stage, I suppose it’s just a road I like,” Ostberg shrugged at the stage end.
“The swept line of the previous stage make it almost like tarmac, while this is a proper gravel stage and I really enjoy it. For sure we will keep trying to catch Ogier - I promise we are doing all we can. We will see on the next one, I will push there – and on the last one too,” he added.
Ogier was fourth fastest and seemingly unfazed by the Norwegian’s progress. “It’s okay, no problem,” he said. “This is one of the slower stages and we’ve lose some time, but there will be no change to our approach.“
In the battle for third, Hirvonen responded to Neuville’s pace on the previous stage by going second quickest and extending the gap between them from a perilous 0.4sec to a slightly more comfortable 5.2sec.
Neuville, however, blamed himself for some of the time loss. “I made a small mistake on a hairpin,” he explained. “We lost about 1.5 sec because there was lots of dust about and I couldn’t see anything. Generally though I’m feeling much more comfortable in the car. It’s going better and better.”
Behind Neuville, the gap to fifth placed Dani Sordo widened to 1min 04sec. At the stage end a deflated Sordo still couldn’t explain why.