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Mar 08, 2014 - 05:27 PM
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Sebastien Ogier Leads After Day One Of Mexican Round
Posted by: newsla on Mar 08, 2014 - 05:26 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Sebastien Ogier Leads After Day One Of Mexican Round


The serious stuff started at Rally Mexico on Friday with a long first day featuring some 148.62km of timed stages, mainly contested in the Sierra de Guanajuato. Despite running in a less than ideal position on the road, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia held the overall lead at the end of the first leg. They have won seven out of the eleven stages contested thus far.

 

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After a short introduction through the colourful streets of Guanajuato on Thursday evening, the reigning world champions began this intense day of action as leaders. As the running order was determined by the drivers’ world championship standings, the French crew set off in second position, behind their team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. The two Volkswagen drivers therefore spent the day sweeping clear the thick layer of dust covering the Mexican roads.

Given the conditions, their plan was to limit the time lost in order to stay in contention for the overall win. Sébastien Ogier did better than that, however: by taking seven stage wins and consistently finishing in the top three on the other tests, he managed to reclaim the overall lead which at one stage was held by Mads Østberg.

6.6 seconds off the pace after SS4, Seb gradually reeled in Østberg before finally taking the overall lead off him on the second run on the 44km-long El Chocolate stage. The day’s longest stage, in which the crews spent half an hour in a hot cabin and climbing to a peak of 2,800 metres above sea level, may well have proved decisive in determining the outcome of the rally as Sébastien Ogier struck a mighty blow, dominating his rivals.

“The day went much better than expected,” said Sébastien Ogier. “I thought it would be much more difficult due to our early, and thus unfavourable, starting position. The gravel is extremely slippery, plus it is very hot in the cockpit – it is very easy to make mistakes. First place is more than we could possibly have expected, and puts us in a great position to win here again. However, I think we will have an exciting battle with Mads Østberg and my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala from now on.”

“Compliments to the guys in our engine department: we were at almost 2,800 metres above sea level today, and the turbo engine in the Polo R WRC is in a class of its own – just as it was last year,” he added.

Sébastien Ogier will enjoy a much better position on the road tomorrow, from which he can attack the rally’s most demanding day. Featuring 170kms of timed sections, Saturday’s leg will be held on roads further to the west, close to León. The world champions will, among other things, run into the infamous gate that slowed their progress last year, but which could not prevent them from going on to win the rally.

Overall standings after SS11:
1. Sébastien OGIER 1:46:25.3
2. Mads Østberg +26.1s
3. Jari-Matti Latvala +42.5s
4. Elfyn Evans +2:28.7
5. Thierry Neuville +2:30.2

Best performers: OGIER (7 stage wins), Østberg (3) & Latvala (1)


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