Kris Meeke increased his overall lead in Rally Mexico – to 30.9 seconds in front of Sebastien Ogier (M-Sport). Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) is still third, but at more than 1:10min behind the Citroen driver.
Kris had a fantastic ride on the second pass on Saturday’s stages. The day concluded with two runs on the León Autodrome super special stage. There he had a slow puncture of a rear tyre but managed to limit the loss to only 3.5sec.
“Following a solid morning, we knew the afternoon loop could be decisive after going for a harder tyre choice than our direct rivals”, Kris Meeke said. I had to make it stick… and it worked! On the longest stage, I was able to pull clear. I’ve now got a healthy lead in the overall standings, but we’ll need to keep it neat and tidy tomorrow. I’m pleased to have been able to show the potential of the C3 WRC. I knew we had done a good job on the car! I’m also proud to have been quicker than Sebastien Ogier in normal racing conditions, without anyone mentioning the start order.”
— Citroën Racing (@CitroenRacing) 12 March 2017
Kris Meeke: “We’ll need to keep it neat and tidy tomorrow”
Ogier is on course to deliver a really good performance on his gravel debut with the Ford Fiesta WRC. The Frenchman was fastest though the second pass of SS12 and SS17.
“I’m never happy when I lose time but I have no regrets. I did what I could – pushing without doing anything crazy – but it wasn’t enough and we were only able to set the same pace as Kris who is doing a great job. When it’s like this you have to be clever and think about the points which will be very good for us in terms of the championship”, Sebastien commented.
“There’s still a long way to go and anything can happen. We need to stay focused, keep the same rhythm and keep applying some pressure. You never know what can happen and we can also focus on the Power Stage for a few extra points there.”
“I tried as much as I could. It’s not bad, unfortunately we did a mistake this afternoon with a spun which cost us something around 10s”
— Sébastien Ogier (@SebOgier) 12 March 2017
Neuville claimed a stage win on the first run through the legendary El Brinco (SS11) to move closer to his first top 3 finish of 2017
The Belgian has a one-minute advantage over Ott Tanak in fourth place with just two stages remaining.
Neuville said: “First of all, I’d like to thank all the guys for an outstanding job in preparing the car for Saturday’s stages. The i20 Coupe WRC worked really well and it’s great to retain our podium position with two tests remaining. The morning loop went without incident. Our pace notes were perhaps a bit slow in places and some parts were quite tricky. Our tyre choice for the afternoon was maybe not ideal but we made it through and our aim now is to secure the podium with, hopefully, some Power Stage points.”