WRC Rally Mexico 2018: Sebastien Loeb takes over the lead
The King is back for good: Sebastien Loeb takes the lead in his WRC comeback in Mexico – four-fight for the lead, debacle for Toyota
Citroen driver Sebastien Loeb took the lead on Saturday morning (local time) at the Rallye Mexico, third round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) 2018. With a record time in the first special stage of the day, the nine-time World Rally Champion, who will be back in the WRC this weekend for the first time since January 2015, took over from Dani Sordo (Hyundai) from the lead.
However, Loeb can’t be sure of his lead, because after 13 of 22 special stages a four-man fight for the top is raging. Alongside Loeb and Sordo, who are only 2.9 seconds apart from each other, Kris Meeke (Citroen) and Sebastien Ogier (Ford) are also involved. Both also won a special stage on Saturday morning and are third with a gap of 15.5 seconds each.
“WRC returnees Loeb said,” It might be difficult to keep the lead because I lost time in the last stages. Sordo, for his part, struggled back into the day after a weak start,”The slower stages this morning had traction problems, but that was now faster and better,” says the Spaniard after the WP “El Brinco 1”, which had been driven at the end of Saturday morning.
But Ogier took the biggest step forward. I’m looking forward to the second loop in the afternoon, because I have a good rhythm,”says Ogier, who was not able to get out of hand with a defective starter engine either.
For Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) the problems continued on Saturday. After less than 30 seconds driving time his i20 WRC stopped at the first special stage of the day. After a passage through the water, the engine had run out and large amounts of steam flowed under the bonnet. Only after a minute or so he was able to continue his drive, the first Belgian rider to start the special stages today.
Toyota lost its last spearhead on Saturday morning. After Esapekka Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala dropped out on Friday after a take-off with a defective alternator, Ott Tänak was caught on the first special stage of the day. The engine of his Yaris WRC suddenly lost power, so that the Estonian rider could only drive the final section of the stage at a maximum speed of 60 km/h and lost almost three minutes.”No idea what’s going on, we have maybe 20 hp”, moaned Tänak, who had to give up shortly afterwards.
On Saturday afternoon, the three special stages of the morning will be repeated, followed by two more rounds on the spectator stage “Autodromo de Leon”. The end of the second day in the evening (local time) is the second round of the spectator stage “Street Stage Leon”.
© Motorsport-Total. com