Early blow for Tänak

Championship leader Ott Tänak suffered a setback to his Rally Guanajuato Mexico hopes when his Toyota Yaris stopped early in Thursday morning’s shakedown.

The Estonian, who leads the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time heading into the season’s opening gravel round, parked his car 4.5km into his first attempt at the 5.31km Llano Grande test.

Toyota Gazoo Racing told Tänak not to reset the system for fear of causing further issues and his car was brought back to the León service park on a truck.

Technical director Tom Fowler calmed fears that the problem was serious. “Unfortunately he’s lost one signal to one of the sensors that’s required to run the engine.

“We think we know what’s wrong and that it’s no major problem but we are going to recover the car and bring it back here and check everything carefully before we go back to shakedown again. We’re confident there is no major issue, but we want to check,” he said.

Kris Meeke (below) set the pace in his Toyota Yaris. The Ulsterman edged Andreas Mikkelsen’s Hyundai i20 by a tenth of a second, with Thierry Neuville a further two-tenths behind.

Meeke, winner in Mexico in 2017, set the pace during the opening run before Esapekka Lappi went quickest in a Citroën C3 as the gravel-covered roads became cleaner and faster. Meeke shot back to the top of the standings in his third and final run.

Dani Sordo, making his first start of the season, was fourth in an i20, just 0.4sec off Meeke’s pace. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala completed the top six, who were blanketed by just 1.2sec.

The leading times were:

PositionDriverCarTime
1. Kris MeekeToyota Yaris3min 44.2sec
2.Andreas MikkelsenHyundai i20+ 0.1sec
3.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai i20+ 0.3sec
4.Dani SordoHyundai i20+ 0.4sec
5.Sébastien OgierCitroën C3 + 0.9sec
6.Jari-Matti LatvalaToyota Yaris+ 1.2sec
7.Elfyn EvansFord Fiesta+ 1.3sec
8.Esapekka LappiCitroën C3 + 2.5sec
9.Teemu SuninenFord Fiesta+ 4.3sec
10.Benito GuerraSkoda Fabia+ 15.7sec

Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Rally Guanajuato Mexico, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.

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