Ogier Dominates Rally Mexico with Cautious Approach for Victory
Sebastien Ogier continued his dominance in the World Rally Championship by securing a commanding victory in Rally Mexico.
Sebastien Ogier secured a dominant win in Rally Mexico, adopting a cautious approach on the last day to maintain his lead. Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville managed to edge past Elfyn Evans by a narrow margin of 0.4s to claim the second spot.
On Sunday, the rally’s concluding day comprised of four stages, starting with a repeat of Las Dunas. The longest stage of the event, Otates, followed next, while San Diego was the penultimate test. The rally concluded with El Brinco, which also served as the Wolf Power Stage.
At the start of Las Dunas, Sebastien Ogier opted for a cautious approach due to the stage being heavily rutted. As a result, the French driver lost a few seconds but nothing concerning, as he continued to maintain his lead heading into Otates. Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville was actively pursuing Ogier, with Elfyn Evans within his striking distance. The Belgian managed to reduce the gap by two-tenths of a second, attempting to keep the pressure on his Toyota rival.
During SS21, Sebastien Ogier lost more time to his teammate, but still held a considerable lead of 23.2 seconds with two stages remaining. At the end of the stage, Ogier commented, “Very slippery at the end but all good for us. We are trying to control the lead, and it was a zero-risk drive.” Meanwhile, Elfyn Evans responded to Thierry Neuville’s attack, managing to outpace his rival by 1.7 seconds.
Ott Tanak’s bad luck continued as he faced front damper issues, causing him to focus on merely driving his car to the finish. His teammate Pierre-Louis Loubet also had a stroke of bad luck, experiencing a deflated left front tyre during a narrow section of the course.
The next stage brought in a sense of excitement, as Elfyn Evans finished 3.1 seconds slower than Thierry Neuville, setting up an intense showdown on the Wolf Power Stage. The gap between the two contenders shrank to 2.7 seconds. However, it was later revealed that Evans had a bent steering arm and was struggling with the issue, which explained the time loss.
The last stage confirmed the inevitable outcome as Sebastien Ogier clinched his seventh win of the event and secured his dominance by also winning the power stage.
“I like this stage! The car was fantastic this weekend, and it was a flawless performance from us and the team,” said a thrilled Ogier.
“As I will be competing in the next rally in Croatia, it is crucial for me to start first on the road there, and it was important to secure points for the team as well. I am proud of this victory and would like to dedicate it to my friend whom I lost not long ago. He is always in my thoughts.”
Thierry Neuville succeeded in his pursuit of Elfyn Evans and claimed second place, beating him by a mere 0.4 seconds on the last stage. The Belgian also finished third in the power stage, behind Ott Tanak, earning a considerable number of points. Upon crossing the finish line, Neuville mentioned how much he had been pushing during the race.
Thierry Neuville’s relentless efforts during the race left him exhausted, as he had been pushing himself to the limit all weekend. He commented, “All weekend, we have been on the limit, and it was really exhausting towards the end.”
Elfyn Evans, who finished third, wasn’t surprised by the outcome but was frustrated due to his bent steering arm. He remarked,
“I’m not surprised. We’ve been dealing with a bent suspension arm since the first stage of the morning. We had to be cautious in a few sections to ensure we could make it to the finish. It’s unfortunate.”
Kalle Rovanpera secured fourth place, finishing 1 minute and 55.3 seconds behind Ogier. The Finnish driver was disappointed as he lost his rear wing on the final stage, which prevented him from fully capitalizing on the power stage points.
Dani Sordo completed the Rally1 contingent in fifth place, with a gap of over a minute from Rovanpera. Although he scored some points, Sordo is already looking ahead to his next outing in Portugal.
Gus Greensmith achieved a remarkable feat in his first event of the season, taking victory in WRC2 and securing sixth place overall. Reflecting on his performance, Greensmith said, “From SS6, this whole rally was under control for me.
We were able to increase our speed whenever required and leave everyone behind, and then it was all about managing the pace and avoiding errors. It’s an excellent start to the year for me.
Ogier Dominates Rally Mexico with Cautious Approach for Victory Ogier Dominates Rally Mexico with Cautious Approach for Victory Ogier Dominates Rally Mexico with Cautious Approach for Victory
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