Rally Mexico, 2nd stage: gate closed for VW

Rally Mexico, 2nd stage
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N ot all Mexicans are passionate rally fans, and some have maybe a strange way of expressing enthusiasm. In the past there were occasional stones thrown at rally cars, but this on the second run of the 32 kilometers from Otates was something new. 'No kidding, someone closed a gate,' said the VW works driver, who sent passenger Julien Ingrassia out to open the door. The 30 second loss of time was tolerable, especially since the organizer, after video analysis, gave the VW team back the lost time.

Sébastien Ogier defends his leadership

The incident from the cabinet of curiosities could not stop Ogier and VW. The Frenchman confidently defended his lead with six other best times on Saturday and did not even have to work hard because the competition is crumbling away on its own. Ogier leads extremely comfortably with around three and a half minutes.

His toughest rival Mads Östberg initially thought clutch damage was the root of the problem, but it was the electrics that paralyzed the Ford Fiesta. The Norwegian was eliminated and has to tackle Sunday 13th with 25 penalty minutes. He is still ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who took twice as much penalty the day before after his polo hit a stone on the first stage. The Finn finally got to drive on Saturday (March 9th). 'The car is great,' he confessed after the first kilometers of gravel. Latvala drove good times, but could hardly get away from 18th place on his own.

Mikko Hirvonen finished second

Due to Östberg's mishap, the front field moved up one rank. Mikko Hirvonen came in second without a fight in the Citroën DS3. The Finn is no longer a threat to the leading Ogier, as he lost a minute and a half to a puncture. Although Ford junior Thierry Neuville had cooling problems due to a loose fan cable, the Belgian took Hirvonen for up to 7.5 seconds after his mishap, but had little chance of holding Hirvonen. He's backed by team-mate Dani Sordo, who also lost air in a tire, but should now have a quiet final day with air to the front and back in fourth place.

Nasser is aiming for the best World Cup results of her careeral Attiyah and Ken Block. The Qatari and the US Americans occupy fifth and sixth place on their Ford Fiesta. Block has to look in the rearview mirror, however. His friend Chris Atkinson is getting better and better at his Citroën and is only 26 seconds behind him. The Mexicans are especially happy about their local hero Benito Guerra. The man, whose name means 'war', is in eighth place in the customer Citroën 37 seconds behind Atkinson. Back in the top ten is Evgeny Novikov, who was stranded with engine problems on the first stage.

Only 22 cars left on the last Stage

Armin Kremer has also retired. The ex-European champion had to give up after a stone hit with a defective wheel suspension. Until then, he was third in WRC2 and second in the production car classification. However, he can start again on Sunday and in the worst case, when he crosses the finish line, he will finish fourth in the near-series category because the field is so thin.

The last stage is only tackled by 22 cars. Theoretically, the final Sunday with three tests is only half a stage, but it is tough. Right at the beginning the longest World Championship test Guanajuatito with 54 kilometers will take place, afterwards extra points will be awarded on the 21 kilometers long Derramadero power stage before the show at the last, short super special in Leon.


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