Kris Meeke has given Citroen their first win of the 2017 WRC after dominating and eventually winning the four day Rally Mexico 2017. This was the third round of the new season as well as the first gravel rally following the first two snow rounds of Monte-Carlo and Sweden. Driving the new Citroen C3, the Briton managed to lead throughout the rally, his win now puts him sixth in the championship standings.
Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier finished second to extend his lead in the championship, in his first WRC campaign with Ford. Thierry Neuville made it an even podium by finishing third in his Hyundai i20 WRC, the Belgian also won full points on the final TV Power Stage. Ott Tanak finished fourth in the other Ford Fiesta RS leading Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon.
Photos by: Francois Baudin, Bastien Baudin, McKlein, Bastien Baudin
Best place for Toyota on their first gravel rally was sixth thanks to Jari-Matti Latvala followed by Juho Hanninen in the other Yaris WRC. Dani Sordo finished eighth in yet another Hyundai i20 WRC.
Rally Mexico 2017 faced challenges after an unrelated accident delayed the transportation of cars from Mexico City to Leon where they were due to start SS2. The first two stages on Friday were cancelled. Meeke managed to lead on stage 4, facing little or no problems throughout the 54km stage. Ogier was close in second but had to battle overheating problems in his Fiesta RS. The three Hyundais were not far behind after this stage.
Dani Sordo made a comeback on Saturday by setting the fastest time on the first speed test. The Hyundais had some issues related to engine misfire during the opening stages, these issues were later traced to a fuel filter and fixed accordingly. Ogier and several other drivers (besides the Fords) had overheating fears on Friday, but the conditions on Saturday were cooler and accommodative to all cars.
Ogier won his first gravel stage of the season on SS12 after running on the limit, and later admitted that he would never want to drive like that again.
The drivers will have a short break before embarking on Rally France, or Tour de Corse on April 6.