Rally Rewind: Mexico 2018
Beginning our countdown to Rally Guanajuato México (7-10 March), we remember last year's event - the setting for an exciting WRC comeback from Sébastien Loeb and an impressive vault up the standings by Sébastien Ogier.
Thierry Neuville led after Thursday's street stage in Guanajuato, but when the action switched to gravel on Friday, his Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo was the man to beat.
The Spaniard ended with a lead of 7.2sec over Loeb, who won two stages in a Citroën C3 on his first WRC rally for more than three years. Both benefited from a low start position leaving them a cleaner road surface to exploit.
Ott Tänak drove around overheating problems in his Toyota to hold third, 3.8sec behind Loeb. The Estonian was 14.0sec ahead of Kris Meeke who dropped back with two spins in his C3.
Ogier limited losses from second in the start order in fifth, ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen. Road opener Neuville faced the worst conditions and ended seventh, over two minutes off the lead.
M-Sport Ford driver Elfyn Evans rolled out of third and team-mate Teemu Suninen retired after hitting a barrier. Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi struggled with overheating before Lappi crashed and Latvala stopped with alternator problems.
Ogier vaulted into a 35.9sec lead after a dramatic second leg. Loeb surged into the lead before he stopped to change a wheel after hitting a stone and plunged to fifth. Meeke picked up the battle with Ogier before a spin dropped him back.
Sordo punctured after hitting the same stone as Loeb and slipped to third, 10.9sec behind Meeke.
Tänak retired from third with a turbo problem, while Mikkelsen was fourth and frustrated with the handling of his i20. Neuville was sixth after another taxing day as road opener and lost a further minute when his engine stopped after a water splash.
Ogier eased through to seal his fourth Mexico win and recapture the championship lead. He ended 1min 13.6sec ahead of Sordo after Meeke tipped his C3 onto its side in a gulley and dropped 45sec. The Briton dropped 45sec to allow Sordo to snatch the runner-up position
Mikkelsen was fourth with Loeb fifth and Neuville sixth.
Post event, Ogier was penalised 10sec for hitting a Power Stage chicane, depriving him of four bonus points for second fastest time.
Mini rally prepares Mexico officials
Key personnel gear up for WRC fixture
Latvala’s top WRC memories
Finn reflects on a record-breaking WRC career
Finland shuffles its hand
WRC classic features order changes and the return of Leustu