Wednesday | 13 Mar 2019

Mexico debrief: part 1

Rally Guanajuato Mexico never fails to deliver drama and excitement and we reflect on a typically tough but enthralling weekend in the mountains near León.

Driver of the Rally
It had been exactly two long years since Citroën Racing last won an all-gravel round of the WRC. Who can forget the drama of Kris Meeke’s plunge into a final stage car park en route to his 2017 Mexico success?

Sébastien Ogier ended that barren period with an accomplished victory to continue the French’s manufacturer’s resurgence with its new 2019 driver line-up.

It wasn’t complete domination, far from it. Team-mate Esapekka Lappi, Andreas Mikkelsen and Meeke all led before Ogier finally scrapped his way into first place, battling through a differential problem and a trip into the tyre barriers to secure his second win of the season.

One to Forget
Teemu Suninen spoke before the rally about his desire to replicate the pace which carried him into the lead of a WRC round for the first time in Sweden last month.

Sadly, the Finn gave himself no opportunity to show that speed after hitting a stone on the inside of a corner in Friday morning’s opening speed test. His Ford Fiesta spun into a rock face at high speed and the damage meant that was the last we would see of him.

Andreas Mikkelsen led before broken suspension forced him out

Quote of the Rally
M-Sport Ford’s management was far from impressed with Suninen’s early demise, the third time in three rallies in which he has made an early exit from the action. But team principal Rich Millener attempted to put a brave face on the situation.

“We will make him clean the dishes to pay for the accident!” he said.

You’ll Never Believe It
After retiring from the lead on Friday afternoon, Andreas Mikkelsen was on road opening duties on Saturday.

Bizarrely, he came across a closed gate in the second pass through the Guanajuatito test. Quick-thinking co-driver Anders Jaeger-Amland downed his pace note book, leapt out of their Hyundai i20 to open the barrier and made sure it would stay that way by wedging it in place. Take a look below.


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