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Mexico win extends Ogier's lead

2013-03-11 14:32

OGIER STRETCHES THINGS IN MEXICO: Frenchman Sebastien Ogier clinched victory in the Rally of Mexico on Sunday to extend his lead at the top of the World Rally championship standings to 31 points. Image: AFP

Toby Davis and Alan Baldwin

MEXICO CITY, Mexico - Frenchman Sebastien Ogier clinched victory in the Rally of Mexico on Sunday to extend his lead at the top of the World Rally championship standings to 31 points after three rounds.

The VW driver put an early-morning technical issue behind him to complete a resounding win, his second in a row, 3min28.9 ahead of Finland's Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen).

The Frenchman, who won 16 of the rally's 23 stages, spent 20 minutes fixing a sensor after the morning's opening Guanajuatito stage on gravel roads in the hills around Leon in central Mexico.

NEUVILLE THIRD

"The car was perfect again all weekend," he said later. "OK, just a small alarm this morning with a sensor, but it was not a drama. Now we have quite a good lead for the championship after just three rallies. The season will be long but already it's not bad."

Ogier had seen his lead increased by 40sec seconds after the clerk of the course examined data and split times to see how much he lost on Saturday's Stage 18 when he had to stop to open a gate that was blocking the road.

Belgium's Thierry Neuville finished third in a Ford, despite sliding into a ditch in the morning, for his first WRC podium.

Reigning champion Sebastien Loeb is second overall but is competing in only a handful of events in 2013 and not defending his title so Ogier's closest actual rival is Hirvonen, third overall and 44 points off the lead after his first podium of the year.

"Sebastien was so fast and we couldn't match his pace," the Finn said. "We have lots of work to do but I'm happy we've finally got on the podium and taken a solid result."

Among the points scorers, Qatar's Nasser al-Attiyah was fifth in a Ford and American Ken Block finished a career-best seventh, also in a Ford.

Result from the Rally of Mexico on Sunday
1 Sebastien Ogier (France) VW in 4hr30min27.0
2 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Citroen +3min28.9
3 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Ford +4min23.8
4 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Citroen +6min06.7
5 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) Ford +8min34.5
6 Chris Atkinson (Australia) Citroen +11min28.0
7 Ken Block ( ) Ford +11min48.3
8 Benito Guerra (Mexico) Citroen +12min49.8
9 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford +14min29.0
10 Evgeny Novikov (Russia) Ford +17min15.3

Drivers' and Constructors' points after the 2013 Rally of Mexico

Drivers
1 Sebastien Ogier (France) VW Motorsport - 74
2 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team - 43
3 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team - 30
4 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team - 27
5 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team - 26
6 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Qatar World Rally Team - 25
7 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) VW Motorsport - 15
8 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Jipocar Czech National Team - 14
9 Bryan Bouffier (France) Bryan Bouffier - 10
10 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) Qatar World Rally Team - 10
11 Juho Haenninen (Finland) Qatar World Rally Team - 8
12 Chris Atkinson (Australia) Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team - 8
13 Ken Block (US) Hoonigan Racing Division - 6
14 Sepp Wiegand (Germany) Skoda Auto Deutschland - 4
15 Henning Solberg (Norway) Henning Solberg - 4
16 Benito Guerra (Mexico) Benito Guerra - 4
17 Evgeny Novikov (Russia) Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team - 3
18 Olivier Burri (Switzerland) Olivier Burri - 2
19 Michal Kosciuszko (Poland) Qatar World Rally Team - 1
20 Yazeed Al Rajhi (Saudi Arabia) Yazeed Al Rajhi - 1

Constructors
1 Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team - 87
2 Volkswagen Motorsport - 81
3 Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team - 37
4 Qatar World Rally Team - 35
5 Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally Team - 23
6 Jipocar Czech National Team - 14
7 Lotos WRC Team - 12
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