The Rally México roll of glory is topped by a Frenchman who won the event a record seven times. With his win at the Guanajuato Rally Mexico on Sunday afternoon, Sébastien Ogier added another record to his already impressive list.
The Frenchman started the second rally of his part-time 2023 campaign in Mexico. With a record seventh victory at the North American event, he moved to the top of the Mexico roll of honor, which he had previously shared with an old rival, Sébastien Loeb.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver had a big lead of 35.8 seconds going into the last leg, so Sunday was pretty easy for him.
He finished 27.5 seconds ahead of Thierry Neuville at the event where he made his FIA World Rally Championship debut in 2008. He was very good at the last four speed tests and got all the bonus points from the Wolf Power Stage.
“The car was great this weekend, and the rally went perfectly for us and the team,” said Ogier, who is now three points ahead of Neuville in the drivers’ championship.
“As I’m doing the next rally, it’s important to start first on the road there, and it was also important to get the points for the team,” he said, referring to the Croatia Rally.
Fans were on the edge of their seats as Neuville and Elfyn Evans, who was on Ogier’s team, fought over and over again in Neuville’s Hyundai i20 N. Neuville closed in on the Welshman, who was slowed down by a bent suspension arm. Neuville started the day 5.3 seconds behind the Welshman.
The Belgian’s persistence paid off when he passed his rival in the final race, putting him in second place overall by just four-tenths of a second and making for an exciting end to the four-day event.
Kalle Rovanpera had a hard time keeping up with the pace of the top three drivers, so he had to settle for a lonely fourth place in his Toyota. The defending champion kept pulling away from Hyundai’s Dani Sordo, who came in fifth, more than a minute behind the winner.
Several of the top Rally1 teams were hurt by the rough gravel terrain, which helped Gus Greensmith finish a strong sixth overall in his WRC2-spec Skoda Fabia RS Rally2. Emil Lindholm and Oliver Solberg, both also in the support category, were right behind him.
Ott Tanak could only finish ninth overall because his turbocharger broke on Friday morning, which cost him more than 14 minutes. WRC2 star Kajetan Kajetanowicz rounded out the top 10.
The WRC is back on asphalt for the Croatia Rally next month, which runs from April 20 to April 23. The event takes place in Zagreb, the capital city.
1. S Ogier / V Landais FRA Toyota GR Yaris 3hr 16min 9.4sec
2. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +27.5sec
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +27.9sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +1min 55.3sec
5. D Sordo / C Carrera ESP Hyundai i20 N +2min 58.8sec
6: G Greensmith / J Andersson GBR Škoda Fabia +12min 31.5sec
Drivers’ Championship points (after round 3 of 13):
1. S Ogier 56pts
2. T Neuville 53pts
3. K Rovanperä 52pts