With 16 stage wins and a lead of almost 3.3sec, Frenchman Sébastien Ogier has claimed his second WRC win behind the wheel of his VW Polo R WRC.
The third round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship was held at altitude and in heat but the new Volkswagen dominated Rally Mexico from start to finish. In fact, Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia won all but seven of the 23 special stages. The icing on the cake was Ogier's victory on the Power Stage, which earned him a further three points towards the 2013 Championship.
Rally Mexico took competitors through central Mexico, around León, Guanajuato and Silao. The were 23 gravel stages at altitudes of around 4800ft and higher, covering a total of 245 miles.
Ogier's team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila in the second Polo R WRC also proved their driving prowess. Despite reting from the event on day two just yards into the first special stage of the day, they took advantage of the Rally 2 regulation to rejoin the rally. As a result, the pair finished in the top three on six special stages held on Saturday and Sunday.
As an aside, VW noted that Sébastien's biggest challenge throughout the entire weekend was judging that a sliding door wasn't fully open. On his way to the podium, the winner failed to spot it and got a painful cut above his left eye. The wound was treated by the VW and Citroën team doctors and Ogier arrived at the presentation a few minutes late.
For the World Cahmpion Citroën team, Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished second on Rally Mexico, winning the longest stage of the event. As a result, the Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team increased its points lead at the top of the Manufacturer's Championship with points scored by Hirvonen as well as Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio in fourth position.
With a 7.5sec lead over Thierry Neuville at the start of the final day, Hirvonen had to push hard to keep his rival at bay. He was separated from Sordo in fourth by Ford driver Thierry Neuville in third.
Sixth spot went to Chris Atkinson in his Citroën DS3 WRC run by Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT. He kept Ken Block at bay in seventh as the American scored his best result ever in a WRC event during what will be Block's only WRC outing this year. Ken has reduced his rally commitments in order to focus on the four round X Games series instead.
FIA WRC Rally Mexico
1. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen 4:30:27.0 hrs
2. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Citroën +3:28.9 min.
3. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford +4:23.8 min.
4. Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (E/E), Citroën +6:06.7 min.
5. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Giovanni Bernacchini (Q/I), Ford +8:34.6 min.
6. Chris Atkinson/Stéphane Prévot (AUS/B), Citroën +11:28.0 min.
7. Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino (USA/I), Ford +11:48.3 min.
8. Benito Guerra/Borja Rozada (MEX/E), Citroën +12:49.8 min.
9. Martin Prokop/Michal Ernst (CZ/CZ), Ford +14:29.0 min.
10. Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor (RUS/A), Ford +17:15.3 min.
16. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen +55:03.3 min.
1. Sébastien Ogier, 74 points
2. Sébastien Loeb, 43
3. Mikko Hirvonen, 30
4. Dani Sordo, 27
5. Mads Østberg, 26
6. Thierry Neuville, 15
7. Jari-Matti Latvala, 15
8. Martin Prokop, 14
9. Bryan Bouffier and Nasser Al-Attiyah, 10.
1. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 87 points
2. Volkswagen Motorsport, 81
3. Qatar MSport WRT, 37
4. Qatar WRT, 35
5. Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT, 23