The exciting new-era World Rally Cars tasted gravel for the first time at Rally Guanajuato Mexico. In the second of our two-part debrief, we focus on the moments that mattered.
Sébastien Ogier retained hopes of overhauling Kris Meeke as competitors headed into Saturday afternoon’s stages. The gap was a little over 20sec before the 38.31km Lajas de Oro, with the Ulsterman warning this loop of stages would be decisive.
It was. Ogier spun his Ford Fiesta near the finish while Meeke blasted to fastest time. His advantage doubled to almost 40sec and a useful lead was transformed into a commanding one.
Save of the Rally
No question about this one. As Meeke later remarked, the Power Stage wasn’t the first time he had unintentionally dropped a rally car into a field. But to dive through a hedge 750 metres from the finish when he was so close to a badly-needed win was a little different.
As the disoriented Meeke performed a quick tour of a spectators’ car park, his 30 second lead ticked away. Co-driver Paul Nagle was first to regain his senses, spotting a hole in the undergrowth through which they regained the road and struggled to the finish with a puncture. Victory was intact after one of the most dramatic WRC endings ever.
You’ll Never Believe It
WRC regulars enjoy Mexico for many reasons – the food, the warmth of the welcome, a more relaxed vibe than the opening two rounds and the chance to feel hot sunshine for the first time of the season.
Imagine their faces when the high temperatures of the first few days were replaced by rain. And not just showers, but full-on downpours. León’s weather figures for March show an average of 1.3 rainy days - but the umbrellas were out in force far more frequently than that.
Quote of the Rally
Meeke again, reflecting on the moment he crossed the Power Stage finish. “I had no idea I’d won when I crossed the line but quickly people started shaking their fists and then I knew. I’m sure Yves Matton (team principal) will shake his fist at me later for a different reason!”