Sunday | 09 Mar 2014

Rally Mexico Sunday update

In summary

Sébastien Ogier won his second consecutive Rally Mexico today by 1min 12.6sec to move back to the head of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala finished second with Thierry Neuville claiming a maiden podium for Hyundai on only the Korean manufacturer’s third rally.

Meeke retires in Power Stage

Kris Meeke retired his Citroen DS3 after apparently hitting something early in the final live TV Power Stage (SS22) and breaking the front right suspension.

The Northern Irishman was less than 3km into the 8.25km El Brinco test when he appeared to clip the inside of a sweeping right corner. His car slewed sideways and came to a halt across the narrow road on the exit of the bend.

Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle were quickly out of the car but the DS3 was going nowhere. The stage was immediately stopped for a rescue vehicle to enter and Meeke’s car eventually completed the test on the back of the lorry. After a delay of 25 minutes the stage was restarted.

Suspension concerns for Latvala

Second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala was quickly out of his Volkswagen Polo at the end of the marathon 55.92km Guanajuatito (SS20) to investigate what he thought might have been suspension issues on his Volkswagen Polo R.

The Finn took a close look at the front of the car but couldn’t see anything untoward and headed off towards the refuel zone in Nuevo Valle de Moreno.

Brake issues were a common complaint after almost 56km of hard work. Thierry Neuville, Elfyn Evans and Chris Atkinson all struggled, and both Evans and Atkinson planned to bleed their brakes before going into the following Derramadero test.

Atkinson also reported gearshift issues on his Hyundai i20 and the Australian was more than 2min 20sec down on stage winner Mads Ostberg.

Benito Guerra spun near the finish without damaging his Ford Fiesta RS while Martin Prokop did likewise, but the consequences were almost far more severe.

The Czech driver’s spin almost turned into a roll in what he described as one of his biggest moments of the year. Prokop said he was driving cautiously, but perhaps too much so as he lost his rhythm.

In WRC 2, Quentin Gilbert retired his Fiesta R5 with radiator problems following the previous super special stage (SS19).

Wiper issues for Neuville

There were few signs of the torrential rain that hit León last night with blue skies and bright sunshine greeting competitors at the final 4.42km run through the super special at the city’s race circuit.

But in the shade there were a few puddles and they created visibility problems for Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville. “Just a small problem with visibility because my wipers weren’t working and I had water on the windscreen,” said the Belgian, who scored his maiden stage win here in 2012.

Jari-Matti Latvala, with whom Neuville went head-to-head in the stage, twice ran wide and lost a few tenths while Andreas Mikkelsen reported that the intercom in his Volkswagen Polo R wasn’t working properly.

Not what you really want with the 55.92km Guanajuatito test up next…..

WRC 2 leader Yuriy Protasov spun his Fiesta R5 – but that wasn’t a problem with a lead of almost 25 minutes over Max Rendina.