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2015 Rally Mexico in pictures

2015 Rally Monte Carlo

We’re just three races into the 2015 WRC season and dual world champion Sebastien Ogier already has a commanding lead in the drivers’ championship. Here’s a pictorial look back at how he conquered the dust and gravel in Rally Mexico.

It’s okay, unlike Sebastien, we give all of his main rivals equal time in the spotlight too. Enjoy the pics!

Ford Video WRC

VIDEO: Ott Tanak’s Rally Mexico crash

Ott Tanak, 2015 Rally Mexico

If you haven’t yet seen Ott Tanak’s crash from Rally Mexico then put your floaties on and get ready to get wet!

The 27-year-old Estonian crashed out on SS03 and the off itself wasn’t so spectacular, it was only after he had gently rolled into the water that things became dramatic. It was actually a bit scary there for a moment: could Tanak and co-driver Raigo Molder escape their stricken Fiesta?

Thankfully they did, both men getting to the safety of dry land without too much fuss. Molder even had the presence of mind to grab his pace notes.

If you’re an Autosport+ subscriber there’s some interesting post-rally analysis on Tanak’s crash. David Evans laments that the crash attracted world healdines, but the subsequent victory by Sebatsien Ogier barely rated a mention.

Further, Evans questions why it took 17 minutes to get FIVs on the scene. It took 12 minutes alone just to locate Tanak and Molder, as there were issues with their car’s tracking device.

The tale had almost remarkable ending. After spending nine hours in that lake the car was salvaged and brought back into service. M-Sport set about repairing the car and had three hours to do so. And they did, for a brief moment, get the car running.

Alas, shortly after leaving service the Fiesta stopped running, and despite the team’s best efforts Tanak was unable to resume.

Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2015 Rally Mexico

Sebastien Ogier wins 2015 Rally Mexico

It’s time to dust off your sombrero and grab a Corona from the fridge because Sebastien Ogier has won Rally Mexico for the third year in a row.

Before the event the reigning world champion said it would be difficult to manage a podium finish due to regulations seeing him running first on the road, sweeping the dust and gravel aside for his following opponents. And yet, in the end, the Volkswagen ace won the event by almost 1 minute and 20 seconds from Citroën’s Mads Ostberg.

“Absolutely incredible! I am so happy and proud of this victory in Mexico,” Ogier said after his third win from three starts in 2015. “It is one of the best wins of my career. Julien and I had a perfect weekend, the Polo was fantastic, and the team did a magnificent job.

“We pushed like crazy from the word go in the cockpit, came up with the cleverest tyre selection on Friday—and were rewarded in the end.

“It is my third win in a row here. The Rally Mexico seems to be kind to me. And I love coming here. The route suits me, the countryside is fantastic, and the fans make the rally a great fiesta every year.”

Andreas Mikkelsen moved up to second in the championship standings thanks to his third place on a weekend where many front runners had problems.

Kris Meeke crashed out. Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out. And so did Thierry Neuville.

The most spectacular incident was when Ott Tanak gently rolled into a lake. That in itself wasn’t so bad, it was the sight of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC sinking and the subsequent footage of he and co-driver Raigo Molder swimming to safety that grabbed the headlines. We’ll have more on that later.

In the meantime Ogier now enjoys a 34 point lead in the drivers’ championship and appears well on the way to a third straight title. The WRC returns in mid-April for Rally Argentina.

Citroen Ford Hyundai Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2014 Rally Mexico

2014 WRC Rally Mexico

Clichés are usually so entrenched they cannot be avoided. In Rally Mexico three clichés became clear: 1. Sebastien Ogier wins rallies; 2. the winner in Mexico MUST wear a sombrero; and 3. Robert Kubica rolls rally cars.

Business as usual, then, it would appear. Although, Ogier did have to overcome Citroën’s Mads Ostberg on Day 1 to claim the lead, before once again settling into what appeared to be a controlled rhythm of excellence.

Ostberg’s challenge ended on Day 2 after his car suffered suspension damage as Ogier began to sieze control of the rally. The reigning world champion eventually won by more than 70 seconds from teammate Jarri-Matti Latvala. Meanwhile, Ostberg struggled on to finish ninth.

In a boost for the sport Thierry Neuville achieved Hyundai’s first WRC podium, despite being more than five minutes behind the race winner. Neuville’s joy was almost short lived, though, with a holed radiator after the final stage almost making him late for time control, which would have denied him of that podium result. Some quick thinking and repairs aided by a bottle of Corona to top up the radiator were enough to bring Neuville home.

Chris Atkinson got his first taste of Hyundai’s teething problems on Day 1 when a suspension arm broke for no apparent reason, sending him down the leaderboard. It was a precursor to a raft of issues and he did well to fight back and earn the team some solid points thanks to a seventh place finish.

Ford’s hopes were carried by youngster Elfyn Evans who recorded his best WRC result with P4, with Mikko Hirvonen well behind in eighth place after an alternator problem ended his assault on Day 1. Robert Kubica rolled his car heavily twice, first on Day 1 and again the following day.

Kubica wasn’t alone, with Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelesen missing a pace note and flipping his Polo in spectacular fashion. Amazingly he landed on his wheels and was able to finish the stage, but not much more. Kris Meeke endured a troubled event in his Citroën and finished outside the top 10.

Ogier now resumes the lead of the world championship, three points ahead of Latvala, both are comfortably ahead of Ostberg in third.

The next rally will be held in Portugal across the first weekend in April, where we hope Hyundai can continue to push for another strong result. Or that anyone can make Volkswagen fight for victory.