Rally Mexico: Air Latvala is flying to his first victory of the season
Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Motorsport, Polo R WRC) extended his lead at Rally Mexico after furious third day. He won six of nine Saturday’s gravel stages, leaving the opponents only the pleasure of winning at two short super specials and Leon’s street stage. The Finn started a day with a 32.1sec lead over team-mate Sebastien Ogier but increased it to 1min 35.7sec during the longest day of this third round of the World Rally Championship, covering nine stages and 152.40km.
Mikkelsen crashed out while chasing Sordo
“The feeling in the car was brilliant. The way Miikka read the pace notes was perfect. Everything has come together. It’s important to have a 1sec/km difference for tomorrow because you can then back off if the tyres or brakes become too hot,” Latvala said. His biggest rival Sebastien Ogier admitted during the day that he well be pleased with second place, which will help him increase the gap ahead the closest followers in the championship standings.
Andreas Mikkelsen (Volkswagen), who lays second in the championship, was chasing Dani Sordo (Hyundai Motorsport) for third place overall at Mexican gravel until he crashed out in afternoon’s second pass through Otates (SS15). Sordo is third with 1min 04.7sec gap behind Ogier and 2min 08.4sec ahead Mads Ostberg (Ford).
Camilli and Neuville were out again
Fifth-placed Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon is further 53.3sec down of Ostberg. Ott Tanak (Ford), Martin Prokop (Ford), Lorenzo Bertelli (Ford), WRC-2 leader Teemu Suninen (Škoda) and Valeriy Gorban (Mini Cooper WRC) completed the Top 10.
Eric Camilli (Ford) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) restarted under Rally 2 regulations but both crashed out again early in a day. Camilli flipped his Fiesta RS onto its roof after hitting a rock. Neuville was examined in a hospital after his off-road excursion but his conditions was OK. while Neuville crashed heavily.
Just two stages are scheduled for Sunday’s final leg but they are almost 100km long. The first test will be the monster stage Guanajuato and the final test will be Agua Zarca Power Stage (16.47km), with bonus points for the fastest three drivers. Special stage Guanajuato is 80 km long and it is the longest stage in the World Rally Championship in the 30-year period.
Video: Here’s some rally action from Mexico