Ogier on verge of document seventh WRC Rally Mexico win
Sebastien Ogier is inside touching distance of a record-breaking seventh WRC Rally Mexico victory after establishing a commanding lead on Saturday’s second leg.
The eight-time FIA World Rally Champion, who’s elected to run a part-time program with Toyota Gazoo Racing, moved into the lead of the grueling gravel occasion when Esapekka Lappi — who led Ogier by 5.3s after Friday’s opening leg — crashed his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 right into a concrete electrical energy pole throughout Saturday’s opening stage stage.
From that second on, GR Yaris Rally1 driver Ogier by no means regarded again. Armed with a bonus of just about half a minute over Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans on the day’s midpoint, the 39-year-old Frenchman was in no temper to compromise.
He managed his pace — and his laborious compound Pirelli tires — flawlessly over the afternoon’s levels, taking a dominant win on El Mosquito 2 to finish the day 35.8s away from the sector.
Victory on the third spherical of the championship could be significantly particular for Ogier, since Mexico was the place he made his WRC debut again in 2008. A win on Sunday would additionally make it two wins from two 2023 begins for Ogier, after he dominated January’s season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.
“I feel this lead is nice,” stated Ogier. “It’s been one other sturdy day for me. We had a little bit little bit of a distinct strategy after Esapekka went off within the first stage this morning. We didn’t have to go for an excessive amount of threat, however nonetheless we managed to set some good instances and improve our lead. Tomorrow remains to be lengthy which implies we can not afford to calm down.”
Evans’ place in second general was a lot much less safe, because of a charging Thierry Neuville respiration down his neck. The Belgian Hyundai driver reeled in his rival, grabbing 4 quickest instances to path the Welshman’s Yaris by simply 4.3s heading into Sunday’s four-stage closing leg.
Toyota’s reigning WRC champ, Kalle Rovanpera, discovered himself sitting nearly one minute adrift of Neuville in fourth general. A stall within the Derramadero 2 stage value the 22-year-old Finn a handful of seconds, however because of a hefty 47.2s hole to Dani Sordo behind, he had no cause to be alarmed.
Sordo, a lonely fifth, was unwilling to take any pointless dangers. The Spaniard centered as an alternative on testing new setups all through the day, however regardless of the continued tweaks he nonetheless discovered it tough to maintain the rear finish of his Hyundai underneath management within the free circumstances.
WRC factors chief Ott Tanak recovered from Friday morning’s turbo failure to haul his M-Sport Ford Puma Rally 1 again as much as eleventh general. Pierre-Louis Loubet, driving an identical automotive, retired for the second time in as many days with broken rear suspension within the afternoon’s third stage.
Such was the excessive price of the attrition among the many Rally1 entries that automobiles from worldwide rallying’s second tier, WRC2, stuffed out the remainder of the highest 10 behind Sordo and forward of Tanak.
Gus Greensmith preserved his lead on the entrance of the WRC2 pack on a shortened Saturday leg. The WRC2 crews waited till the ultimate stage of the morning loop for his or her day to get totally underway after the opener was red-flagged following Lappi’s altercation with the ability pole. Consequently, all WRC2 crews have been redirected to the start of the morning’s fourth stage, Las Dunas Tremendous Particular 2.
Regardless of the delayed begin, there was some excellent news for Greensmith when the Skoda Fabia RS driver noticed his lead prolonged from 8.5s to 18.5s on account of his closest rival, M-Sport Ford Fiesta pilot Adrien Fourmaux, beginning the leg with a 10s time penalty for a late test within the day earlier than.
Greensmith may afford to calm down and opted to trial totally different setups on his new automotive through the afternoon. Whereas the adjustments didn’t have the influence he’d hoped for, he nonetheless managed to strengthen his benefit over Fourmaux, ending the day 31.6s in entrance going into Sunday’s four-stage finale.
Sunday could also be shorter than Saturday’s leg, nevertheless it’s set to be no much less difficult. It opens with one other blast by Las Dunas, which is adopted by Otates — the longest stage of the rally at a frightening 22.14 miles. San Diego is up subsequent, earlier than the occasion ends with the bonus points-paying Wolf Energy Stage in 5.95-mile El Brinco stage.
WRC Rally Mexico, main positions after Day Two, SS19
1 Sebastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) 2h35m37.6s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +35.8s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +40.1s
4 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +1m34.0s
5 Dani Sordo/Candido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +2m21.2s
6 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson ((Skoda Fabia RS – WRC2 chief) +10m33.4s
7 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Fiesta MkII – WRC2) +11m05.0s
8 Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hamalainen (Skoda Fabia Evo – WRC2) +11m11.0s
9 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Skoda Fabia RS – WRC2) +11m52.2s
10 Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Skoda Fabia Evo – WRC2) +12m54.3s
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