Kris Meeke’s bid to secure second place at Rally Guanajuato Mexico was all but ended when he crashed his Citroën C3 in Sunday morning’s opening speed test.
He tipped the car onto its side at a slippery right corner on cobblestones 4km from the end of the Alfaro special stage. Fans pushed it back onto its wheels and he finished almost 40sec slower than Dani Sordo.
Sordo climbed into second with a 25.7sec advantage over Meeke with two passes through the Las Minas test remaining before this afternoon’s finish. Meeke had 22.9sec in hand over Andreas Mikkelsen in fourth.
Meeke’s error rekindled memories of a dramatic finale 12 months ago when he won the rally despite a dramatic crash into a car park less than a kilometre from the finish.
“I was just coming on to the cobbles and the car slid. There was a deep gulley on the outside and I caught a wheel which put us on our side,” Meeke explained. His C3 was missing its aerodynamic rear wing but the Briton was confident he could hold onto third.
Sordo was third fastest in his Hyundai i20 and was quicker than Meeke at the split times all the way through the test.
“I had a lot of dust in the middle of the stage. I tried to enjoy it and I’m happy with the car. If we can finish on the podium that would be good,” said the Spaniard.
Jari-Matti Latvala blitzed everyone to win the stage by 9.7sec in a Toyota Yaris in his efforts to regain another place on the leaderboard. Leader Sébastien Ogier was second in his Ford Fiesta to increase his advantage to 48.0sec.
The Frenchman has his eyes on maximum Power Stage points later fter opting for a mix of hard and soft compound Michelin tyres. “We’ve taken the optimum tyre choice for the Power Stage, not for this one,” he said.