Friday | 04 Mar 2016

SS3: Ogier in front in Mexico

Sébastien Ogier led Rally Guanajuato Mexico after claiming two wins in Thursday’s night’s three short speed tests.

Stage info: SS1 - SS3

SS1: Street Stage GTO, 1.09km
Immediately after the colourful start ceremony, competitors drive the opening stage through the streets of Guanajuato. Part of it runs underground through tunnels dating back to when the town was the world’s silver mining centre. High kerbs lining the roads must be avoided and this year drivers have an extra tyre squealing loop at the roundabout near the finish.

SS2 / 3: Super Special 1 / 2, 2.30km
The first of three double runs at León’s motor racing circuit where two cars at a time race head-to-head. The stage is well-liked by the drivers, mixing asphalt and gravel and featuring a big jump and a water splash.

The Frenchman won both runs of the 2.30km super special stage at León’s race circuit in his Volkswagen Polo R to lead Thierry Neuville by 1.7sec. The Belgian led initially after winning the 1.09km street stage in Guanajuato which opened this third round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

“It’s not a big lead but it’s better than nothing,” said Ogier, who must open the roads tomorrow on slippery gravel. “Everything counts and we have done our job tonight, now we’re looking forward to the real start of the rally tomorrow.”

Tens of thousands of fans packed the narrow streets of Guanajuato for a colourful and highly-charged start ceremony filled with music, dancing and fireworks.

Neuville topped the times in the short stage that followed, the Hyundai i20 pilot just a tenth of a second faster than Lorenzo Bertelli’s Ford Fiesta RS. Ogier was third, a further 0.2sec behind with the top six covered by less than 1.5sec.

When the action switched to the circuit, Ogier showed a clean pair of heels to his rivals in both runs. Dani Sordo was second in the first pass, with Andreas Mikkelsen his closest rival in the following run.

Neuville was third in both tests to end the evening 1.6sec clear of Jari-Matti Latvala, who complained of understeering in his Polo R. Mikkelsen, Sordo and Hayden Paddon completed a top six covered by 4.6sec.

The action continues tomorrow in the mountains above Guanajuato when two gravel stages are driven twice, split by a short asphalt test on roads around León’s service park campus. The day closes with two more stages at the city’s race circuit, making a total of 145.15km.

Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard action and video reports from Rally Guanajuato Mexico

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