Ogier triumphs in WRC Mexico

March 8, 2015

Ogier triumphs in WRC Mexico

March 8, 2015

rally_win_mexSébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia and Volkswagen/Michelin triumphed in Mexico for the third time running by more than a minute today in the latest round of the World Rally Championship.

They were joined on the podium by Norwegians Mads Ostberg (Citroën, +1m18.8s) and Andreas Mikkelsen (VW, +1m25.1s). WRC2 honours went to the class’s defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah (Ford Fiesta RRC/Michelin).

Given the new WRC rule which stipulates that the championship leader must run first on the road until the end of the second leg, Ogier believed he had little chance of winning Rally Mexico, the first dirt event of the season and one where the phenomenon of road sweeping tends to be a particularly big handicap.

But that didn’t prevent the Frenchman and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville (who were first and second in the championship after Sweden) from completing the first competitive loop in front. They took advantage of Friday morning’s cool temperatures to fit a combination of hard- and soft-compound Michelin LTX Force tires which provided them with outstanding grip on the gravel-coated stages.

Ogier then benefited from the accidents of his two biggest threats Neuville (on SS8) and team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala (SS12) to emerge comfortably in front at the halfway point. From that point on, the Frenchman was able to cruise home to his third Rally Mexico success and his third win of 2015. He also pocketed the three Power Stage bonus points.

This year’s Rally Mexico proved as tough as ever. In 2014, 10 drivers had to thank the Rally2 ruling for reaching the finish, while this year’s event saw 12 cars ‘retire’ over the weekend, including five World Rally Cars which crashed on Leg 1.

The most spectacular accident was that of Ott Tanak who crashed his Ford Fiesta RS WRC into a lake. The video of the incident has been watched 6.2 million times on the WRC’s social media. M-Sport managed to get the car back on the road for Sunday’s action.

The last day was marked by a duel for second place between Ostberg (Citroën) and Mikkelsen (VW). The silver medal ended up in the former’s hands, helped by a fastest time on the rally’s longest stage (55.82km).

As in 2014, the consistency of Welshman Elfyn Evans (Ford) was rewarded with fourth place, while Spaniard Dani Sordo – who missed Sweden – rounded off the top five to save Hyundai Motorsport’s honour.

The 2015 Dakar winners Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (Ford Fiesta RRC/Michelin) came first in WRC2 after early pace-setter Yurii Protasov went off in his Ford. Nicolas Fuchs (Ford) and Jari Ketomaa (Ford) joined the Qatari on the podium.

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