WRC Rally Mexico 2018: Loeb’s bad luck is Ogiers Glück
Sebastien Ogier took the lead at the Rallye Mexico after Sebastien Loeb fell back due to a puncture.
New lead change at the Mexico Rally, third round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) 2018. Sebastien Ogier (Ford) took the lead on Saturday afternoon and is 37.1 seconds ahead of Kris Meeke (Citroen) after 16 of 22 special stages. Sebastien Loeb (Citroen), on the other hand, was unlucky after his WRC comeback in the lead at noon, but then fell back due to a puncture.
Loeb’s dream of winning his WRC comeback was shattered on the first special stage of the afternoon – together with his left front tire “There was a stone on the inside of the road. It was nothing bad, I didn’t think I would catch a flatfoot. But that’s what happened,”said Loeb, shrugging his shoulders in the WP’s finish line. The Frenchman and co-driver Daniel Elena were able to change the bike very quickly, but still lost more than two minutes.
Dani Sordo (Hyundai), who was presumably the same stone, also became the fatality, which at that time was in second place. The left front tire of the Spaniard also burst, but only shortly before the finish of the special stage, so that Sordo drove on and lost only about 30 seconds.
Sebastien Ogier the fastest on Saturday afternoon
Ogier benefited from the problems of the two top drivers – but not only from it. The reigning world champion continued his race to catch up in the afternoon with fast times and gained a lead of 37.1 seconds, which is quite reassuring in view of the remaining distance “This was a perfect day. I attacked and everything worked for us,”says the Frenchman.
Ogier’s clear leadership is also due to the mistakes of other rivals. Meeke was up to the age of 15. Special stage still in striking distance to the M-Sport pilot, but then lost a good 30 seconds due to a spin. The Briton gives up the fight for victory after this blunder:”Too many stupid, small mistakes this weekend,”Meeke is self-critical.
Sordo also lost another 24.4 seconds on Ogier in this special stage, as he had no spare wheel left after the puncture and therefore went to work cautiously. With a 44.5-second gap to Ogier, the Spaniard is no longer able to win on his own strength, but the fight for second place against Meeke is still a long way off given the 7.4-second gap.
Many small mistakes made by Thierry Neuville
Fourth, Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai) is currently trailing 1’30 “behind his direct rivals, but is on course for a good result. Loeb is fifth. World championship leader Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) made several small driving mistakes on Saturday afternoon, but is still in a respectable sixth place due to the losses of some opponents after a weak rally.
With Pontus Tidemand (Skoda), the overall seventh place is the WRC2 leader. The Swede has over five minutes in the “second league” of the WRC on the British Gus Greensmith (Ford), third in the class is the Chilean Pedro Heller (Ford).
At the end of Saturday there will be two more rounds on the spectator test “Autodromo de Leon” in the late afternoon (local time). In the evening the spectator’s stage “Street Stage Leon” will be driven again. On Sunday, only three special stages over a total distance of 46.46 kilometres await the crews.
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