Jari-Matti Latvala finally scored his first points of the 2016 WRC season by taking dominant win on Rally Guanajuato Mexico ahead of Sebastien Ogier.
Leading the championship, Ogier ran first on the road throughout Friday and Saturday, clearing a path through the dust and rocks for everyone else to follow. Running further down the order, Latvala took full advantage of the grippier conditions to set fastest time on every rough road stage during the first two days.
Ogier put in a fine performance nevertheless, holding onto second. The road positions situation was reversed for the final day, but with more than a minute already in hand Latvala could afford to ease off a little. Just as well, as Ogier stormed through Sunday’s stages, including the 80km of Guanajuato, the longest World Championship test since 1986.
Latvala held on to take victory by 1m 05s from his champion teammate, who added an extra three points to his tally thanks his now-traditional Power Stage win.
Hyundai’s Dani Sordo finished third, but was subsequently penalised for using too many tyres. That promoted M-Sport Ford pilot Mads Ostberg onto the podium for the second time in succession, and bumped him up to second in the points standings.
Hayden Paddon was fifth for Hyundai ahead of privateers Ford drivers Ott Tanak, Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli. WRC2 winner Teemu Suninen was ninth in his Skoda. Ukrainian driver Valery Gorban rounded out the top ten, his first points finish.
With two wins, a second and a clean sweep of Power Stage wins, Ogier leads the championship on 77 points. Ostberg is second, while Andreas Mikkelsen drops to third after crashing out in Mexico. Latvala’s win moves him up to sixth, behind Sordo and Paddon.
Meanwhile, Elfyn Evans took first blood in the relaunched British Rally Championship, winning the Mid-Wales Stages. Despite a stiff challenge from Fredrik Ahlin, the local hero took three stages wins to secure victory by 17secs. Tom Cave was third.
The next round of the WRC is Rally Argentina on 22-24 April.
Rally Mexico top ten finishers after 21 stages
- Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Antilla — Volkswagen Motorsport/VW Polo R WRC — 4:25:57.4
- Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia — Volkswagen Motorsport/VW Polo R WRC — +1:05.0
- Mads Ostberg/Ola Floene — M-Sport WRT/Ford Fiesta RS WRC — +5:36.4
- Dani Sordo/Marc Marti — Hyundai Motorsport/Hyundai i20 WRC — +5:37.9
- Hayden Paddon/John Kennard — Hyundai Motorsport N/Hyundai i20 WRC — 6:22.6
- Ott Tanak/Raigo Molder — DMACK WRT/Ford Fiesta RS WRC — +9:59.5
- Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek — Jipocar Czech National Team/Ford Fiesta RS WRC — +12:58.5
- Lorenzo Bertelli/Simone Scattolin — FWRT/Ford Fiesta RS WRC — +14:09.6
- Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula — TGS Worldwide/Skoda Fabia R5 — +18:01.8
- Valery Gorban/Volodymyr Korsia — Eurolamp WRT/Mini Countryman WRC — +32:37.3
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By Only Motors