Rally Mexico 2016: Latvala wins ahead of Ogier

Rally Mexico 2016
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D he expression penalty without goalkeeper would be exaggerated, but the most disastrous start to the season in For Jari-Matti Latvala, 13 years of the World Championship should be the key to his 16th victory in the top division of rallying. According to the regulations, the first 2 stages will be started according to the World Championship ranking. Arrived for the third round in Mexico with zero points, the Finn had almost perfect track conditions on the track in eighth place and pulled away from the field inexorably from the fourth test.

After 19 of 21 stages in the Polo WRC, Latvala was already in the lead by over one and a half minutes, so that on Sunday morning he was able to cruise towards the finish line at half throttle on the longest stage of the season at 80 kilometers. With second place on the final power stage, Latvala scored two more points in addition to the 25 points for his first win of the season, but only moved up to sixth place in the World Championship, which also offers him the best chances of success for the following gravel event in Argentina at the end of April.

Ogier shows his class

League leader Sébastien Ogier knew even before the start that it would be difficult without the help of a shooter would take the third win of the season in a row. According to the rules of the previous year, he would at least have had Thierry Neuville, who dropped out early, as a street sweeper on the second stage, but since January the person with the best points has to open two stages from the front.

With anger in his stomach, the Frenchman showed how fast he can drive under the best conditions. On the 80 kilometers from Guanajuato on Sunday morning, he took 25 seconds off Latvala, each additional starter conceded at least a minute.

The power stage was also prey for the world champion, who was able to extend his championship lead despite the defeat against his teammate. The rest of the pursuers helped him to do this. Andreas Mikkelsen, the third VW man in the group, damaged his Polo so badly during a departure on Saturday that a restart on Sunday was out of the question.

Hyundai's fastest man had already been off the road twice and had to give up too. Thierry Neuville first took the lead in the first spectator test on Friday evening. The world will never know whether he could have kept up with the pace of VW in the new Hyundai i20, because the man from St.Vith off a bike.

Hyundai fails

Daniel Sordo first got the coals from the fire for the Koreans who felt at home in Spanish-speaking Mexico and settled in third place early on. But for the Galician, the rally was a long ordeal. A failed cooling fan caused high engine temperatures, on Sunday the brakes no longer played along the long 80 kilometers from Guanajuato.

But the big end still came. After a happy champagne shower, he then had to vacate third place. Because the Spaniard swapped 3 instead of 2 wheels during the last tire change, he had exceeded his contingent of 28 tires by one and received a two-minute time penalty that put him back in fourth place. Team manager Alain Penasse spoke nebulously of a 'communication problem' and announced that he wanted to have the incident investigated in detail after returning to Alzenau.

More serious than Sordo's mishap, however, is Neuville's zero number in the brand table. After two races, despite defeats against VW, still within striking distance, the gap after the first quarter of the World Cup is now 36 points, because Haydon Paddon, who came in fifth, was only nominated for the Hyundai B team.

Ford team not really successful

An otherwise rather colorless Mads Östberg, who went to Sweden, benefited from the problems with mental arithmetic among the Koreans celebrated his second podium finish in third place and second in the drivers' standings with 42 points. His M-Sport team also celebrated the 200th finish in a row since 2002 in Mexico. 'M-Sport is writing World Cup history', the team from Cumbria proudly announced.

However, it was ignored that, thanks to the Rally2 regulations, failed teams are allowed to start again after failures and in the overall standings may move up in terms of points against non-registered teams. Anyone who brings a works car to the finish cannot go home without points. Eric Camilli, who crossed the finish line in 16th out of 20, scored 4 points for the brand classification.

For the 28-year-old Frenchman, Mexico was only the eighth gravel rally of his career. An early tire damage and a squeaky gearbox, which was missing the first two gears on Friday, caused him to fall far behind early on. A hit on a rock then forced them to retreat. After 3 accidents in 3 rallies, Camilli limited himself to a safe journey home.

His predecessor in the M-Sport team is unusually constant. Ott Tänak couldn't keep up with the pace at the very front with his Dmack tires, but in sixth place scored points for the third time this season. The Czech Martin Prokop only competes sporadically in the World Cup in 2016 and was in Mexico for the first time. TheThe result was, as is so often the case: Prokop finished seventh in the third-best Ford Fiesta and was the best privateer after local hero Benito Guerra had to give up this goal on the first stage after a cracked wheel suspension.

The chassis was also good the Achilles heel of the German World Cup representative Armin Kremer. The man from Mecklenburg had booked the expensive overseas trip with the Baumschlager team in the hope of getting a top result in the WRC2 World Championship, because defending champion Nasser al Attiyah withdrew his nomination at short notice, as did the eventual winner Teemu Suninen from Finland was not a serious title competitor in the second world championship division at the start. But after two suspension damage on the Skoda Fabia R5, Kremer was happy that he was classified as 19th and penultimate place with a gap of 1.26 hours and still took some championship points with him.

In In the gallery we have some spectacular highlights from the Rally Mexico.


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