Shakedown WRC Mexico: Best time for Meeke, Loeb cautious
Kris Meeke drives the fastest time in the shakedown to the Rally Mexico 2018 – Exciting manufacturer’s battle looms, second shock for Esapekka Lappi
Mexico still seems to like Citroen: Kris Meeke marked the fastest time at the shakedown to the Rally Mexico 2018. The times of the 5.31 kilometer long shakedown stage “Llana Grande” promise high tension: With Meeke, Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), world champion Sebastien Ogier (M-Sport-Ford) and Ott Tänak (Toyota), drivers from four different manufacturers were among the best four, which promises excitement for the actual rally. Sebastien Loeb came tenth in his comeback with a gap of 2.6 seconds.
Meeke has thus underscored his favorite role after last year’s victory (with a shock second on the last few meters). Since he is only seventh, he will find himself in the best possible conditions on Friday’s opening stage and the nine stages on Friday.
“My feeling is good since I’ve been in Mexico because we have good memories of last year,”says the 38-year-old to’ wrc. com’,”I already enjoyed seeing these stages at the Recce. We had a good test here the week before. My good feeling is confirmed by the shakedown time. I’m only six points behind the championship three. I’m glad I sacrificed a few points, because from road position seven, there should be a lot of things possible.”
Only Neuville was able to keep up with Meeke’s pace with a gap of four tenths of a second, followed by a small demolition of another 1.4 seconds to the time peers Ogier and Tänak. His team mate Esapekka Lappi had to break off his third attempt with broken suspension – not a good start for the Finn.
Meanwhile Sebastien Loeb had to shake off a bit of rust:”My first attempt was quite difficult – scouting the shakedown, the car, a little bit of everything. It was complicated, but trials two and three ran better. It’s the first rally the nine-time World Champion rides with the faster WRC cars that have been in use since the 2017 season.
Shakedown Results (Top 10): 01. Kris Meeke (Citroen) – 3:41.0 minutes (4 tries)02. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) +0.4 seconds (3)03. Sebastien Ogier (Ford) +1.8 (3)03. Ott Tänak (Toyota) +1.8 (5)05. Elfyn Evans (Ford) +2.0 (4)06. Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota) +2.1 (4)07. Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai) +2.3 (6)08. Dani Sordo (Hyundai) +2.4 (4)08. Teemu Suninen (Ford) +2.4 (5)10. Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) +2.6 (5)
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