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:
|1.||Kris Meeke||Toyota Yaris||3min 44.2sec|
|2.||Andreas Mikkelsen||Hyundai i20||+ 0.1sec|
|3.||Thierry Neuville||Hyundai i20||+ 0.3sec|
|4.||Dani Sordo||Hyundai i20||+ 0.4sec|
|5.||Sébastien Ogier||Citroën C3||+ 0.9sec|
|6.||Jari-Matti Latvala||Toyota Yaris||+ 1.2sec|
|7.||Elfyn Evans||Ford Fiesta||+ 1.3sec|
|8.||Esapekka Lappi||Citroën C3||+ 2.5sec|
|9.||Teemu Suninen||Ford Fiesta||+ 4.3sec|
|10.||Benito Guerra||Skoda Fabia||+ 15.7sec|