View the Rally Mexico 2019 Pace Report.
- Patient Ogier sees others fall around him to take win
- Sordo’s best points of the season
- 3 WRC2 drivers finish in the top 10
- 5 drivers out of contention on Friday
- 5 more suffer on Saturday
Rally Mexico can be a brutal test of rugged roads and high altitude playing havoc on the cars. Therefore the rally can be more of an endurance test than one of all out speed and driver ability. Such was the casualty rate at the top, three WRC2 drivers finished in the top 10 to score WRC points. Road order would play its part for key players but it wouldn’t define the rally as much as Rally Sweden.
Check out the report for Rally Mexico 2019 WRC.
Sebastien Ogier – Winner
Sebastien Ogier stayed calm and let others fall around him to win Rally Mexico with a lead of over a minute. Driving second on the road didn’t seem to hinder his Friday and his pace suggested he should be middle of the field where he would be expected to trail. He ended the day in fifth about half a minute behind the leader Dani Sordo. By Saturday evening all four drivers above him had had issues, propelling him into P1. This didn’t deter him from pushing and he won four stages to end the day with over 35 seconds in hand over second.
Sunday’s drive was a managed drive. Aware of the amount of drivers suffering from punctures and needless spins, he cruised over the line to pick up the 25 points. The Las Minas Power Stage may have been seen by Seb as too much of a risk as he did not push or score points.
Dani Sordo – Second
Dani had his best result of the season in Mexico, mostly thanks to some outstanding pace on leg 1. Again, road order helped him, tenth on the road having sat out Rally Sweden. Some unrivalled pace saw him leading in a class of his own by midday service. The afternoon loop saw a more cautious approach which allowed Loeb and Tanak to come close.
However Saturday would not be as kind to Sordo. On the first stage of Saturday he lost the lead to Loeb with Dani not feeling confident with the car or enjoying the stages. A puncture on SS14, with confidence and car issues saw Dani’s pace drop drastically. And whilst others would fall he wouldn’t lead the rally again. By the time the pace returned to Sordo in the afternoon, Ogier had already established himself as un-catchable. A cautious cruise to second place rounded off the weekend and a puncture hindered any hope of scoring Power Stage points. Though Mexico wasn’t a bad rally for Dani by any means, he will rightly blame Saturday morning’s bad luck for costing him the win.
Kris Meeke – Third
Like Dani, Kris is another driver who could also be forgiven for considering what could have been in Mexico. Winner in 2017, he has what it takes to win on these roads and his pace suggest the same. However too many of the steps down in his pace line in the chart are due to small, simple, stupid spins. Throughout the weekend Kris set 4 fastest times and has a near horizontal pace line. SS3 and the Power Stage SS22 are the only times he was off the pace without notable incident. Stages 7 and 8 saw two successive spins and Kris lost another 30 seconds on Stage 15. Half a roll on Stage 20 cost Kris second place. He commented himself that he needs to cut out the mistakes, without which his pace line suggests he could have won Rally Mexico.
The Top Seeds
Ott Tanak found himself ending the day in third position despite being off-pace for most of Friday’s ‘real’ stages. His Yaris would not allow him to challenge on Saturday and never got going. Turbo issues on the car meant he had to pull out of the day’s action. If his Sunday pace is anything to go by he too would be forgiven for wondering ‘what if’. 5 points on the Power Stage redeemed some credibility for the Yaris.
The reliability of Thierry Neuville‘s Hyundai combined with his road opening duties did little to give him much of a chance in Mexico. Although he aced the Guanajuato Street Stage on Thursday evening his rally went downhill. There were a couple of moments for Thierry but nothing that could suggest he was to blame for being off pace. Luckily for him others would fall allowing him to finish in 6th, topped up with a third place Power Stage.
Sebastien Loeb‘s return to WRC started well and put him in the lead briefly on Saturday. His decision to change a wheel after a puncture on SS14 cost him a definite second place. It also denied fans and spectators an entertaining battle with Sebastien Ogier on the Sunday for the win. The nine time World Champion’s pace line suggests that class is permanent.
Although Andreas Mikkelsen‘s Rally Mexico was incident free, it was also free of any pace and competition. A very similar performance to Ogier on the Friday could not carry on through the Saturday. There was not any real reason for the pace. Mikkelsen would be another driver whose position depended largely on those falling around him.
The Toyotas of Esapekka Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala had similar performance issues to that of Tanak’s. Latvala’s car had given up by SS9 and Lappi had an off on Stage 7. Both had to retire for the day and both were out of contention for the rally. Whilst Latvala would still finish in the points, Lappi’s retirement was too early in the day. His Rally 2 times took him too far down the leaderboard.
By the end of SS3 Elfyn Evans had put in some good pace and was in third position overall. A big crash on SS4 didn’t end the rally there and then but Elfyn later had to retire. Co-driver Dan Barritt was suffering from the effects of concussion following the accident
Teammate Teemu Suninen‘s first WRC outing on gravel started with dignity until a moment on Stage 6 damaged the car. A roll on the following stage SS7 forced him to retire for the day. Although out the points his remaining performance was not too disappointing for the newcomer.
Please note penalties have been applied between the final stage and the overall time in the charts. This will be fixed for 2019.
If you would like to read more WRC Rally Pace reviews, you can also check out:
- Rallye Monte Carlo 2018
- Rally Sweden 2018
- Rally Mexico 2018
- Tour de Corse 2018
- Rally Argentina 2018
- Rally Portugal 2018
I will also be following this up with all rallies in 2018 soon in preparation for the 2019 season. You can subscribe below or follow me on Twitter for notifications of new posts @PushingPace. I’m also @WRCStan if you enjoy the wider rally discussion. Please let me know any comments, opinions or mistakes too.
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