First run in 2012. Los Mexicanos has a similarly twisty character to the Las Minas stage – not surprising considering the short road section between the two. The route starts on a mid to wide road with a lot of loose gravel. It stays twisty throughout but is faster than Las Minas.
How the action unfolded:
Another fastest time from Mads Ostberg on the Los Mexicanos test enabled him to extend his overall lead to a slender 1.9sec, however Sebastien Ogier in second was keeping up the pressure.
Ostberg said clouds of dust inside the cockpit of his Fiesta RS had made it hard to see the stage properly but he was happier with the way the car was handling.
“We were going to adjust the set-up after the first stage today but actually we haven’t touched it,” said the Norwegian. “It seems better suited to these twisty stages, so I’m trying to gain as much as I can when it’s like this.”
Ogier was second fastest, 0.5sec adrift of Ostberg, in his Polo R and felt this was the best he could do from his position of eighth in the start order. “It was a good drive and I can’t go faster or push more. The road is still cleaning, improving car to car, so it’s better for the cars behind me,” he said.
Thierry Neuville was third quickest, 0.5sec slower than Ogier and satisfied with the pace he had found without reference to other competitors. “We’re not getting any split times in the car, so until we get to the end I don’t know whether my speed is good or not,’ he explained. “Looking at where we are though, so far it seems okay."
Mikko Hirvonen was fourth fastest in his Citroen DS3, with Evgeny Novikov rounding off the top five times. Novikov’s Fiesta was back to full health after his earlier electrical problems were traced to a bad connection.
Chris Atkinson was eighth fastest, having made running repairs to his Citroen DS3. "We damaged the steering arm earlier and now I have really bad power steering. It won’t be easy but we should be able to get it through the next stage like this and back to service,” he said.
Benito Guerra had an anxious time on the stage when his Citroen’s driver display incorrectly reported that the car was on fire. “I was pretty sure we weren’t but it was quite a distraction,” he acknowledged. Guerra was 11th fastest.