Europe 1 with AFP 22:08 p.m., March 19, 2023Sébastien Ogier won, this Sunday, his seventh success on the Rally Mexico, a record that allows him to dethrone his compatriot Sébastien Loeb. The Frenchman, who does not participate in all the rounds, still took the lead in the World Championship.
Frenchman Sébastien Ogier (Toyota) won Rally Mexico on Sunday, the third event of the season, and set a new record by winning this stage of the World Rally Championship (WRC) for the seventh time. At 39, Ogier now has one more victory than Sébastien Loeb (6) on the slippery and demanding tracks of Mexico and continues his quest for records as he did in the legendary Monte-Carlo Rally, the first event on the calendar, which he won for the ninth time in January.
Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) was second, just four hundredths ahead of Britain's Elfyn Evans, who brought a second Toyota onto the podium. The mano a mano between the two drivers lasted the entire last day of the Mexican event, back after two years off due to Covid-19. Reigning world champion, Finland's Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota) is in fourth position at 1 min 55 sec and grabs a few more points thanks to his fourth place in the Power Stage.
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Ogier tops the standings
A Power Stage, the last stage of this rally made of stones and dust, won by the eight-time French world champion, who had until then been able to carefully manage his lead in the general classification. Thirty-five seconds acquired after the mechanical setbacks on Friday of the leader of the world championship, the Estonian Ott Tänak (M-Sport Ford), and especially after a spectacular accident, fortunately not serious, which put out of play the Finn Esapekka Lappi (Hyundai), while he was racing in the lead on Saturday.
With a harvest of thirty points, Ogier, who skipped Rally Sweden a month ago and is only doing a partial season with Toyota, takes the lead of the World Rally Championship with 56 points, ahead of Neuville and Rovanpera. Ott Tanak, first to arrive in the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato mountains, is now only fourth with 47 units.
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Croatia as the next step
Once again, the Rally Mexico, with its course traced at 2700 meters above sea level, its sharp pebbles along the tracks and its stray dogs, pushed the mechanics and drivers to their limits. The Spaniard Daniel Sordo (Hyundai), victim of punctures, or the Frenchman Pierre Louis Loubet (M-Sport/Ford) of suspension breaks on Friday and Saturday and a slow puncture on Sunday, can testify to this.
With this record in Mexico, Ogier also offers Toyota a victory in the form of revenge: the Japanese brand, reigning world champion of manufacturers, was absent from the podium in Sweden. Next stop on the WRC calendar: Rally Croatia from 20 to 23 April on asphalt roads known to be narrow and bumpy.