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Rnd 3 Rally Mexico Mar 5-8



History

First held in 1979, the rally moved to Le?n in 1998 and joined WRC in 2004.
The 2007 rally was the shortest in WRC history with a total distance of less than 850km. It still included more than 366km of stages and more than 43 per cent was competitive.
Sebastien Loeb scored six consecutive wins between 2006 and 2012 (the rally was absent in 2009 due to rotation).

What’s new for 2015

Thursday night’s curtain-raiser in Guanajuato is followed by tests at Le?n’s race circuit, a popular viewing spot for fans.
A short street stage close to the service park returns to an early afternoon slot on Friday and Saturday.

Official Site: rallymexico.com

Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio

WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights plus.wrc.com/


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Thursday-Mexico shakedown

Sebastien Ogier set the pace in shakedown at Rally Guanajuato Mexico on Thursday morning as drivers showed their skills on gravel for the first time for almost four months.

The FIA World Rally Championship leader went fastest on his fourth of five runs through the 5.55km Llano Grande stage in a Volkswagen Polo R.

He was 2.2sec quicker than Thierry Neuville's Hyundai i20, which is using a modified fuel injection system to help counter the effects of power loss caused by the high altitude stages.

"Im happy with the feeling in the car, and everything worked well, but it doesn’t mean that it looks good for the rally,"said Ogier, who will be first through Friday and Saturday's stages.

"We will see what we can do of course. Here we tried to work on some solutions to compensate for the conditions we will face. It’s a simple objective: the grip is lower when you’re the first car, so we tried to find a set-up that generates the most grip!"

Kris Meeke was third, only 0.3sec behind the Belgian driver, in Citroen's DS 3, having topped the times earlier in the session.

Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Ostberg were tied in fourth a tenth of a second behind the Briton, with Andreas Mikkelsen completing the top six another tenth back.

Dani Sordo, returning to action after missing last months Rally Sweden with broken ribs, didn't help his injury by crashing 3.6km after the start of his fourth run. The car was reported to be undamaged but the Spaniard was unable to regain the road.

Italian Lorenzo Bertelli completed shakedown with no issues, the FWRT team happy after its missing container finally arrived in Leon at 02.00 this morning, allowing the squad to set up in the service park and access tools and spares.

click: wrc.com/mexico-shakedown/



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Thursday evening:
SS1: Neuville grabs early lead in Mexico


Tens of thousands of fans packed the historic streets in the former mining town of Guanajuato to create a crackling atmosphere as Rally Guanajuato Mexico roared into life on Thursday night.

Music and dancing filled the town all evening at the colourful start ceremony, after which competitors immediately tackled the slippery opening special stage.

Thierry Neuville blasted his Hyundai i20 to fastest time, stopping the clocks two-tenths of a second ahead of surprise package Lorenzo Bertelli. But Neuville admitted his run wasn't perfect.

"My pace notes weren't 100 per cent right. I was a bit late on the brakes in the last right-hand bend and we went wide. Not the best start, but we have a good time so I have to be pleased," he said.

Bertelli topped the times for a long while in his Ford Fiesta RS. The Italian was relaxed after his FWRT team’s sea freight container, packed with service park equipment, tools and spares, finally arrived at 02.00 today after a delayed journey from Europe.

Volkswagen team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen were tied in third in their Polo Rs, with Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg completing the top six. Just eight-tenths of a second covered the leading sextet.

Robert Kubica broke the rear left wheel of his Ford Fiesta RS after hitting a kerb just a few metres after the start, while Dani Sordo felt his Hyundai i20 may have been down on power.

click: wrc.com/mexico-ss1



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SS2: Ogier leads overnight in Mexico

Sebastien Ogier set fastest time in Thursday’s second and final speed test to claim the overnight lead at Rally Guanajuato Mexico.

He defeated Thierry Neuville in the headline heat at Leon motor racing circuit to relegate the Belgian, winner of the opening special stage in Guanajuato, to second. The gap between the two is 1.2sec.

"It's a good start to the rally. Tomorrow all I can do is go flat out," said the Volkswagen Polo R pilot, who faces a tough job to hold onto his advantage from first in the start order over mountain roads covered in a thick layer of loose gravel.

Hyundai’s Neuville was tied in second with Andreas Mikkelsen's Polo R. The Norwegian edged out team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in the penultimate heat, crossing the finish just a tenth of a second ahead, and the two were split by 0.6sec overall.

Mads Ostberg defeated Elfyn Evans to hold fifth in Citroen's DS 3, Evans losing confidence after a lurid slide under braking at a wet part of the circuit. Just behind Ostberg in sixth was team-mate Kris Meeke, who outpaced Dani Sordo.

Ott Tanak, Robert Kubica, Sordo and Lorenzo Bertelli completed the top 10, while Hayden Paddon was 16th after spinning his Hyundai i20.

click: wrc.com/mexico-ss2



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Friday

SS3:



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SS4:

Sebastien Ogier overcame the handicap of opening the roads to lead Rally Guanajuato Mexico after a remarkably dramatic morning.



He was third in the opening Los Mexicanos stage as Thierry Neuville reduced Ogier’s overnight lead to two-tenths of a second. But the Frenchman was quickest through the following El Chocolate to head the Belgian by 13.3sec.

With the roads expected to become faster as the early starters swept the surface clean of slippery loose gravel, the Volkswagen Polo R pilot’s lead was a surprise.

Drivers struggled to get heat into their tyres as air temperatures struggled to climb above an unusually chilly 7C, and Neuville clipped a bank after sliding wide in SS3. He also reported his Hyundai i20 was leaking dust into the cockpit.

Fifth and fourth in the two stages was enough for Jari-Matti Latvala to hold third, 0.8sec behind Neuville. "Very bad driving from me," admitted the Finn. "It's incredible how slippery it is. The sun isn’t shining and it’s very cold. I’ve never known it this cold in Mexico."

Second in El Chocolate promoted Mads Ostberg from ninth to fourth after the Norwegian spun in the previous test. "It was the same problem as Sweden with the gearbox. I changed gear, it went into neutral and I went off the road," said the DS 3 driver.

Ott Tanak retired early in Los Mexicanos when his Ford Fiesta RS plunged off the road and into a lake. Exact details have still to be confirmed but the Estonian and co-driver Raigo Molder are uninjured.

Hayden Paddon stopped 3.1km into El Chocolate after damaging the rear right suspension of his Hyundai i20 while Kris Meeke crashed his DS 3 just 1.5km after the start.

Also out is Robert Kubica. The Pole was fastest at the second split but came to a halt after about 15km. He tried to continue on several occasions but eventually stopped after about 20km, although it is not yet known what his problems were.

Dani Sordo dropped 40sec with gear selection issues at the start of SS4, and his woes increased when his i20’s windscreen fogged up after a watersplash.

click: wrc.com//mexico-ss4



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Ott Tanak/ Raigo Molder....more on the Lake crash !


Watch Ott Tanak and co-driver Raigo Molder escape from their terrifying accident at Rally Guanajuato Mexico with these amazing images - exclusive to wrc.com.

click: wrc.com/Ott & Raigo

....:xxx:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Friday-Round Up:

Surprised Ogier tops Mexico standings


Sebastien Ogier was the shock leader of Rally Guanajuato Mexico on Friday evening after an action-packed day sidelined half the drivers from the headline World Rally Car category.



He overcame the handicap of opening the roads with an inspired tyre choice for his Volkswagen Polo R this morning to claim the advantage. He protected his lead this afternoon to end 13.5sec ahead of team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

Ogier expected to lose time this morning as he swept the gravel roads of slippery stones. But in unusually low temperatures of 7C in the mountains near Guanajuato, his decision to fit two soft compound tyres paid dividends.

He smashed his rivals in the 44km El Chocolate stage and held off Thierry Neuville until the salvation of more equal conditions during the afternoons repeated tests.

"It was a really great day. I made a clever tyre choice, one of the best we’ve done. It was hard and I had to push from the first metre to the end. That’s always my target but I’m very pleased with this one," he said.

A further boost came with the high number of retirements. With most likely to return tomorrow under Rally 2 rules at the head of the start order, he will not have to sweep the roads.

Read more: wrc.com/Friday-round-up

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Protasov heads WRC 2 champ in Mexico

Yurii Protasov held off reigning WRC 2 champion Nasser Al-Attiyah to lead the support category after Friday's second day of action at Rally Guanajuato Mexico.



The Ukraine driver, who tussled with Al-Attiyah last year, returned to WRC 2 after tackling the opening two rounds of the season in World Rally Cars to head the Qatari by 14.5sec. Both are driving Ford Fiesta Regional Rally Cars.

The two frontrunners dominated the fastest times, with Protasov taking six stage wins and Al-Attiyah two. Notional times were awarded for two stages which were not completed following delays caused by Ott Tanak's accident.

"It was a very strong day. We had a good battle with Nasser and have pushed hard all day," said Protasov.

Both Nicolas Fuchs and Jari Ketomaa were in contact with the leading pair during the truncated morning but slipped back this afternoon. Fuchs ended 2min 43.5sec behind Al-Attiyah, with Ketomaa a further 52.7sec adrift.

Ketomaa, who won the previous round in Sweden, suffered from daylong brake problems in his Fiesta R5.

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari was fifth, almost a minute down on Ketomaa, with Simone Tempestini completing the top six and heading the Production Cup within WRC 2 despite driveshaft problems in his Subaru Impreza.

Stephane Lefebvre was inside the top six until a rear wheel parted company with his DS 3 R5. It took 11 minutes to fit the spare and continue and the Frenchman, winner of the opening round in Monte-Carlo, was ninth.

click: wrc.com/en/wrc-2/Friday-round-up/

...:cool:
 

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M-Sport World Rally Team's Elfyn Evans is holding a strong fifth place after the most dramatic opening day the FIA World Rally Championship has seen for a number of years. Unfortunately, Ott Tanak became one of Rally Mexico's numerous victims, but the M-Sport team achieved the impossible – repairing a seemingly unsalvageable rally car to get it ready for tomorrow's stages.



In the day's most terrifying off, the Estonian's Ford Fiesta RS WRC became submerged in a reservoir. Caught out under braking over a compression in the road, Tanak damaged the front-right suspension of his Ecoboost-powered Fiesta, 2.6 kilometres into the first stage of the morning (SS3, Los Mexicanos 1, 9.91 km). Unable to make the following left-hand corner, he and co-driver Raigo Molder were forced into a roll down the steep embankment – coming to a stop in the deep water.

Thankfully both driver and co-driver were unhurt in the incident, and were determined to continue the event. Showing true professionalism and determination, Molder even rescued his pacenotes from the watery depths – heading straight back to the hotel to dry what are one of a rally driver and co-driver's most precious pieces of equipment.

The team were determined to see the crew back on the stages. Despite the car being completely submerged for almost 10 hours, M-Sport's technicians were prepared to work throughout the night in an effort to repair the Fiesta, and repair it they did – with the help of both Tanak and Molder who stayed by their team's side until the work was complete.

Changing the gearbox, fuel tank, turbo, cooling package, boost control valves, electronic components, brake components, front and rear suspension components as well as a number of cosmetic components, the team also repaired the engine block and drained the engine of excess water.

Completing the work in just three hours, it was an outstanding job by the technicians who have once again proven themselves to be in a true class of their own. To complete this epic story, the number six Fiesta RS WRC was driven into parc ferme by Tanak and Molder.

click: m-sport.co.uk/m-sport-achieve-the-impossible-and-raise-the-titaenak

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just Awesome ! :D
 

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Saturday:

SS11: VW duo equally matched


There was little to split Rally Guanajuato Mexico leader Sebastien Ogier and second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala through Saturday morning's opening speed test.



More than 30km of flat-out driving over tough gravel roads in the mountains above Leon ended with the Volkswagen Polo R team-mates split by just 0.2sec. It left Ogier leading by 13.7sec.

"Not an easy stage, but I had a clean run," said Ogier. "We tried our best but it's hard to push."

Latvala clipped a rock 5km from the finish and although the Finn reported a strange feeling from the damper for a couple of kilometres, he was unconcerned.

"There was a big rock in a right corner which I drove over and it sent a shock through the damper. It felt like a puncture but the tyres are OK," he explained.

Mads Ostberg was third fastest in his DS 3 ahead of Dani Sordo, who reported brake problems towards the finish in his Hyundai i20.

All yesterday's retirees restarted, including Ott Tanak after a crane raised his Ford Fiesta RS from its resting place in five metres of water after rolling into a lake.

The car was winched out after 10 hours beneath the surface and astonishingly M-Sport’s mechanics had it running again in just three hours.

They replaced the gearbox, fuel tank, turbo, cooling package, boost control valves, electronics, brakes and suspension at the front and rear. They also repaired the engine block and drained it of water.

Tanak drove the car into parc ferme at midnight amid huge applause from watching crowds. However, problems starting the engine this morning meant he left service late and stopped in the refuel zone at the service park exit. It is hoped he will restart tomorrow.

click: wrc.com/mexico-ss11



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SS12: Suspension damage wrecks Latvala's hopes

Jari-Matti Latvala's hopes of challenging team-mate Sebastien Ogier for victory at Rally Guanajuato Mexico ended when he hit a bank and wrecked the rear of his Volkswagen Polo R.

The Finn limped through the second half of Otates with his rear left wheel missing after a mistake, and retired from the leg at the end of the stage after conceding more than six minutes.

"We went a little bit wide in a fast right corner, the rear came out and hit a bank. We broke the rear suspension and lost the wheel," said a dejected Latvala.

He was overtaken in the stage by Mads Ostberg, who climbs to second overall in Citroen's DS 3. He is 50.5sec behind Sebastien Ogier, who set fastest time by 13.0sec ahead of the Norwegian.

"We had a good stage," said Ogier. "We've done the perfect rally, the perfect job. My target was not to lose too much to Jari-Matti this morning and push this afternoon, but his problem makes things a bit different for us."

Ostberg lost a few seconds in the dust of Latvala's stricken car, but said his promotion to second would not change his plans. "I'll continue driving like I am. I came here to enjoy it, it's quite enjoyable and I don’t want to change anything," he said.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Elfyn Evans climbed to third and fourth, the Welshman’s Fiesta RS completing the stage just a few seconds behind Latvala. Benito Guerra spun, while Lorenzo Bertelli stopped his Fiesta RS after 17km.

click: wrc.com/mexico-ss12



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SS13:



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SS14:Sordo and Kubica top times

Dani Sordo and Robert Kubica shared fastest times through Saturday morning's final two stages at Guanajuato Rally Mexico, but Sebastien Ogier held a comfortable lead at the midpoint of the third day.



Sordo won the live TV El Brinco stage in his Hyundai i20 before Pole Kubica topped the timesheets in the short León street stage in a Ford Fiesta RS. “I pushed really hard,” said the Spaniard, who claimed the highest average speed so far at 105.36kph.

Ogier was second in both tests in his Volkswagen Polo R and led Mads Ostberg by 1min 08.3sec as drivers entered service.

"The pressure is not off, it's just a bit different now because Jari-Matti’s mistake has changed our philosophy. Now we have to control the lead and stay out of trouble which isn't an easy job. The temperatures will be very high this afternoon, which is a big challenge for the car," he said.

Ostberg dropped 15sec after spinning his DS 3 in El Brinco. "I think I hit something on the long stage and that damaged my right front suspension. The front end was very nervous from there on. Andreas is close behind but I’m not too worried," he said.

Andreas Mikkelsen is 9.7sec adrift in his Volkswagen Polo R, having extended his advantage over fourth-placed Elfyn Evans to 31.9sec.

"I feel I'm too hesitant in places and we’ve been losing more time than we would like. I don't think we need to change anything, we just need to concentrate on being clean because there are still a lot of people having problems out there," said Evans.

Both Hayden Paddon and Kris Meeke reported brake problems, while Thierry Neuville felt the gearbox in his i20 was not working properly.

click: wrc.com/mexico-ss14



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Saturday-SS15:



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SS16:



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SS17:



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SS18:



Latvala's error puts Ogier clear

Sebastien Ogier will take a lead of 1min 15.2sec into Sunday’s final leg of Rally Guanajuato Mexico after a mistake by team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala this morning left him in the clear.

The Volkswagen Polo R colleagues were split by less than 14 seconds when Latvala hit a bank midway through the 42.90km Otates test and ripped the rear left wheel from his car. He limped to the end of the stage before retiring.

It left Ogier with room to breathe ahead of the developing battle between Mads Ostberg and Andreas Mikkelsen. However, the Frenchman added four stage victories to his tally from the eight tests, most over gravel roads in the mountains above Leon.

"It has been a perfect rally up to now, everything is working like a dream. There is a very long stage tomorrow morning but with the lead we have we can afford to drive safely," said Ogier.

Latvala's dejection was absolute after his error. "The championship looks bad, for sure. So I’m going to forget the championship and concentrate rally-by-rally and see where we are at the end of the year. That’s the only thing I can do," he said.

Ostberg put second place in jeopardy when he spun his DS 3 in SS13 and lost 15sec after damaging his front suspension in the previous stage. He slipped into the clutches of Andreas Mikkelsen but a stage win this afternoon kept him ahead by 4.5sec.

Mikkelsen insisted he was driving at a measured pace to gain experience of roads that were mainly new to him but he still won the final stage.

Elfyn Evans was fourth in a Ford Fiesta RS. The Welshman admitted he was too hesitant in places as Dani Sordo closed. But when the Spaniard lost a minute after hitting stones and breaking his Hyundai i20’s front left wheel, Evans could relax.

Martin Prokop was sixth ahead of WRC 2 drivers Nasser Al-Attiyah, Nicolas Fuchs, Jari Ketomaa and Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari.

Rally 2 returnee Thierry Neuville was 11th after changing his i20’s gearbox at mid-leg service while Kris Meeke and Robert Kubica both lost time with punctures. Hayden Paddon ended the day with a down on power i20 after its engine overheated.

Ott Tanak restarted his Fiesta RS after it was winched from its resting place in five metres of water 10 hours after rolling into a lake.

Astonishingly M-Sport’s mechanics had the car running again in just three hours last night but problems restarting the engine this morning brought the Estonian to a halt before he could leave the service park. He will restart tomorrow.

Sunday's final leg contains just 74.66km, the bulk of which is contained in a monster opening test of 55.82km.

click: wrc.com/saturday-round-up/


...:cool:
 

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Sunday
SS19: Ostberg lays claim to second


Mads Ostberg won Sunday morning's marathon opening stage at Rally Guanajuato Mexico to edge further ahead in his intense battle with Andreas Mikkelsen for second.



The 55.82km test was the longest of the weekend and Ostberg completed it 3.5sec faster than his fellow Norwegian to extend his advantage to 8.0sec in Citroen’s DS 3 with only two stages remaining.

Mikkelsen spun his Volkswagen Polo R after 45km and had no dashboard data in the cockpit, meaning it was hard for him to understand which gear he was in.

Rally leader Sebastien Ogier took no risks in his Polo R and was second fastest, 2.4sec behind Ostberg. The Frenchman admitted he was surprised the gap wasn’t bigger such was his caution.

Both Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville reported the brakes on their Hyundai i20s started to fade towards the end of the stage. Sordo, returning after breaking two ribs in a training accident last month, was also feeling pain from his heavily strapped right shoulder.

Lorenzo Bertelli completed a disappointing weekend with a third retirement when he went off the road on a right hand bend after 31.6km and ripped the right rear wheel from his Ford Fiesta RS.

click: wrc.com/mexico-ss19



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SS20:



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SS21: BREAKING NEWS: Ogier takes Mexico hat-trick

Sebastien Ogier secured a hat-trick of victories at Rally Guanajuato Mexico on Sunday when he eased through the final leg to win by 1min 18.8sec.



The winner in 2013 and 2014 took the lead on Thursday night's second stage in his Volkswagen Polo R and was never again headed en route to his third success of the FIA World Rally Championship season.

Mads Ostberg outgunned Andreas Mikkelsen in an all-Norwegian battle for second. His DS 3 finished 6.3sec ahead of Mikkelsen's Volkswagen Polo R after almost 400km of action in the mountains near Leon.

A blistering drive through the final live TV Power Stage earned Ogier the maximum three bonus points. Mikkelsen claimed two with Thierry Neuville taking the final point in a Hyundai i20 in third.



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Next Rnd 4 - Rally Argentina April 23-26




History:

First run in 1980 in Tucuman province in the north, when it was known as Rally Codasur.
The 1982 edition was cancelled due to the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.
Moved to Bariloche, in the south, in 1983 but found its home in Cordoba in 1984.
Argentines are passionate soccer fans and in 2007 a stage was held at the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires while Cordoba stadium, home to Talleres, has twice hosted stages and the finish.

What’s new for 2015

Thursday night's curtain-raiser in Villa de Merlo, 235km from Carlos Paz in San Luis province, has never been held before.
Two stages north of Carlos Paz will feature roads not used since 2007.
The fast stages in the Calamuchita valley have been dropped from the itinerary.


Official Website: rallyargentina.com/

Listen Live: wrc.com/live_popup_radio

WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights plus.wrc.com/


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