Thursday | 05 Mar 2015

Ogier wins Mexico shakedown

Sébastien Ogier set the pace in shakedown at Rally Guanajuato Mexico on Thursday morning as drivers showed their skills on gravel for the first time for almost four months.

The FIA World Rally Championship leader went fastest on his fourth of five runs through the 5.55km Llano Grande stage in a Volkswagen Polo R.

He was 2.2sec quicker than Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai i20, which is using a modified fuel injection system to help counter the effects of power loss caused by the high altitude stages.

“I’m happy with the feeling in the car, and everything worked well, but it doesn’t mean that it looks good for the rally," said Ogier, who will be first through Friday and Saturday's stages.

"We will see what we can do of course. Here we tried to work on some solutions to compensate for the conditions we will face. It’s a simple objective: the grip is lower when you’re the first car, so we tried to find a set-up that generates the most grip!"

Kris Meeke was third, only 0.3sec behind the Belgian driver, in Citroen’s DS 3, having topped the times earlier in the session.

Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Østberg were tied in fourth a tenth of a second behind the Briton, with Andreas Mikkelsen completing the top six another tenth back.

Dani Sordo, returning to action after missing last month’s Rally Sweden with broken ribs, didn’t help his injury by crashing 3.6km after the start of his fourth run. The car was reported to be undamaged but the Spaniard was unable to regain the road.

Italian Lorenzo Bertelli completed shakedown with no issues, the FWRT team happy after its missing container finally arrived in León at 02.00 this morning, allowing the squad to set up in the service park and access tools and spares.

The top 10 times were:

1.Sébastien Ogier Volkswagen Polo R3min 47.6sec
2.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai i20+ 2.2sec
3.Kris MeekeDS 3+ 2.5sec
4=Jari-Matti LatvalaVolkswagen Polo R+ 2.6sec
4=Mads ØstbergDS 3+ 2.6sec
6.Andreas MikkelsenVolkswagen Polo R+ 2.7sec
7.Robert KubicaFord Fiesta RS+ 3.0sec
8.Dani SordoHyundai i20+ 5.0sec
9.Ott TänakFord Fiesta RS+ 6.4sec
10.Elfyn EvansFord Fiesta RS+ 6.5sec

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