MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

Rally Mexico: SS2: MIKKELSEN CHARGES AHEAD

ANDREAS MIKKELSEN TOOK THE LEAD OF RALLY GUANAJUATO MEXICO AFTER WINNING FRIDAY MORNING’S INCIDENT-FILLED OPENING SPEED TEST.The Norwegian, lying second after last night’s street stage in Guanajuato, was fastest through El Chocolate by 2.4sec in his Hyundai i20 to lead Sébastien Ogier by 2.9sec.

“It was very hard to know how much to push. If you push too hard you go outside the lines, so I tried to stay in them,” he said.

Ogier was surprised with second fastest. “It felt terrible and I struggled, the grip is very low. I’m not comfortable in the car,” said the Citroën C3 pilot.

Andreas Mikkelsen

Dani Sordo, starting his first rally of the season was third quickest. The Spaniard was two-tenths slower than Ogier to move into third overall, 4.0sec adrift of his i20 team-mate.

Britons Kris Meeke, driving a Toyota Yaris, and Elfyn Evans were next up. Before Evans could say anything at the finish, something inside the car grabbed his attention and the Ford Fiesta driver departed quickly. Both were more than 8sec slower than Mikkelsen.

Jari-Matti Latvala completed the top six, the Finn 16.7sec behind Mikkelsen and his Yaris sporting front left damage. “We hit something. Starting far down the order is cleaner, but the problem is there are more rocks on the road. Everything is okay, no problem with the car,” he explained.

Road opener Ott Tänak endured the worst of the conditions in his Yaris, clearing a line through the slippery gravel to leave more grip for those behind. The Estonian was 21.4sec slower than Mikkelsen in eighth.

Thierry Neuville dropped almost 45sec after driving much of the stage with a rear left puncture. “It happened about 5km in. We nearly went off as I tried to avoid some small stones which Tänak put on the road. We drove over them, we couldn’t avoid them,” he said.

In worse trouble was Teemu Suninen. The Finn’s Fiesta was stopped halfway across the road after going off 13.5km into the test. There was heavy damage to the front right suspension and his day was already over.

Top ten overall after stage 3

    POS
    CAR NO
    DRIVER
    CO-DRIVER
    TEAM
    ELIGIBILITY
    GROUP CLASS
    TIME
    DIFF PREV
    DIFF 1ST
    1.
    89
    NORA. MIKKELSEN
    NORA. JAEGER-AMLAND
    HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WORLD RALLY TEAM
    M
    RC1
    34:22.5
    2.
    1
    FRAS. OGIER
    FRAJ. INGRASSIA
    CITROEN TOTAL WRT
    M
    RC1
    34:23.2
    +0.7
    +0.7
    3.
    6
    ESPD. SORDO
    ESPC. DEL BARRIO
    HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WORLD RALLY TEAM
    M
    RC1
    34:24.8
    +1.6
    +2.3
    4.
    33
    GBRE. EVANS
    GBRS. MARTIN
    M-SPORT FORD WORLD RALLY TEAM
    M
    RC1
    34:31.0
    +6.2
    +8.5
    5.
    5
    GBRK. MEEKE
    GBRS. MARSHALL
    TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT
    M
    RC1
    34:32.2
    +1.2
    +9.7
    6.
    10
    FINJ. LATVALA
    FINM. ANTTILA
    TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT
    M
    RC1
    34:40.3
    +8.1
    +17.8
    7.
    4
    FINE. LAPPI
    FINJ. FERM
    CITROEN TOTAL WRT
    M
    RC1
    34:42.8
    +2.5
    +20.3
    8.
    8
    ESTO. TÄNAK
    ESTM. JÄRVEOJA
    TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT
    M
    RC1
    34:49.3
    +6.5
    +26.8
    9.
    11
    BELT. NEUVILLE
    BELN. GILSOUL
    HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WORLD RALLY TEAM
    M
    RC1
    35:11.3
    +22.0
    +48.8
    10.
    41
    MEXB. GUERRA
    MEXJ. ZAPATA
    BENITO GUERRA
    WRC2
    RC2
    36:38.1
    +1:26.8
    +2:15.6