Thierry Neuville was fastest in Rally Mexico’s shakedown. The conditions were unusual for the event as heavy rain turned the 5.31km-long stage into a muddy and damp road.
The Hyundai driver was 1.7sec faster than Sebastien Ogier (M-Sport).
“We need to be very, very careful in the new parts which are rough in places. They will be slippery with a lot or rocks everywhere because the stages have been graded. They have made the roads wider, but taken a lot of stones from the roadside onto the tracks, so it will be tough”, Thierry told wrc.com.
“We’ve done many great things but obviously we weren’t able to get it to the end of the rally. We were a bit unlucky, hopefully we can bring home some good results now for the team. It’s important for the manufacturers’ championship but also for me in the drivers’ championship to catch some points on Ogier, [Jari-Matti] Latvala and [Ott] Tänak. The title is still possible. We can score 30 points on just one rally and they are only 40 points ahead.”
Thierry Neuville: “We need to be very careful in the new parts which are rough in places”
Kris Meeke with Citroen gave the third best time.
“It was difficult to feel confident on this very twisty, technical road. Despite the rain, we kept working on improving the set-up and we moved in the right direction”, Meeke explained.
Latvala was fourth and said he did not feel completely happy in the first shakedown run.
“We changed some of the engine mappings and adjusted some clicks on the dampers, which we were expecting to do. On the second run it felt a lot better and by the third run I was really happy. So now I’m feeling confident but it’s going to be a tough rally with the heat: more like an endurance test than a sprint”, the Finn added.
— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) 9 March 2017