SATURDAY MORNING’S OPENING SPEED TEST AT RALLY GUANANJUATO MEXICO WAS NEUTRALISED AFTER ESAPEKKA LAPPI SLID OFF THE ROAD CLOSE TO THE FINISH, LEAVING HIS Citroen C3 PARTIALLY BLOCKING THE TRACK. The Finn slide wide on a left corner 800 metres from the end of the Guanajuatito special stage. The rear of his Citroën C3 dropped into a ditch while the front came to rest across the road and could not be moved.
The following Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans managed to squeeze by before organisers red flagged the stage, leaving the remaining competitors to drive slowly to the finish. They will be issued with notional times.
The decision to halt the test could prove a blessing for leader Sébastien Ogier. The Frenchman picked up a front right puncture in his C3 and the red flag may have saved him from a considerable time loss.
“The puncture was a bit earlier but we had a red flag so we had to stop. We drove over some rocks on the road that were pulled on from the cars ahead, I couldn’t avoid them in the line,” Ogier explained.
Kris Meeke was fastest before the stage was curtailed. The Briton was 12.1sec quicker than Evans in his Toyota Yaris to demote the Ford Fiesta driver in the overall standings by 5.8sec.
Ott Tänak was third quickest in his Yaris, a further 7.0sec adrift, but all times and positions reman provisional until the organisers allocate notional times.
Jari-Matti Latvala restarted following last night’s retirement due to alternator problems in his Yaris. He deliberately started the stage 10 minutes late, incurring a 1min 40sec penalty but giving him the advantage of cleaner and faster road conditions in his bid to climb back up the leaderboard.
Rally Mexico – Classification after SS9
1. Sebastien Ogier FRA Citroen C3 WRC 1hr 18m 33.8s
2. Elfyn Evans GBR M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC +14.8s
3. Kris Meeke GBR Toyota Yaris Gazoo Racing +21.1s
4. Ott Tanak EST Toyota Yaris Gazoo Racing +37.1s
5. Esapekka Lappi FIN Citroen C3 WRC +39.1s
6. Thierry Neuville BEL Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1m 00.7s
7. Marco Wilkinson Bulacia BOL Skoda Fabia R5 +5m 16.1s
8. Benito Guerra Jr MEX Skoda Fabia R5 +5m 25.9s
9. Alberto Heller CHI Ford Fiesta R5 +6m 31.5s
10. Ricardo Trivino MEX Skoda Fabia R5 +9m 07.2s
11. Ricardo Cordero Jr MEX Citroen DS3 R5 +13m 24.2s
12. Jari-Matti Latvala FIN Toyota Yaris Gazoo Racing +14m 28.2s
13. Deividas Jocius LIT Ford Fiesta MK6.5 R2 +17m 55.7s
14. Oscar Uribe Balsa MEX Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX +19m 08.6s
15. Jason Bailey CAN Ford Fiesta MK6.5 R2 +20m 13.2s
Jari-Matti Latvala FIN Toyota Yaris Gazoo Racing SS8 Electrical
Dani Sordo ESP Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC SS7 Electrical
Andreas Mikkelsen NOR Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC SS5 Mechanical
Teemu Suninen FIN M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC SS2 Accident