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Taking first place at Rally Mexico
23 March 2020 | Article
Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia have snapped up first place at Rally Mexico. It was the duo’s first victory for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team and the team’s first triumph on gruelling gravel roads.
Kick-starting the race in the tunnels
Before the race, drivers took part in a pre-event shakedown to allow them the chance to sample the conditions similar to those in the rally. Elfyn Evans posted the quickest time, followed by Sébastien Ogier in third and Kalle Rovanperä in fourth.
The competition kicked off on Thursday evening with teams racing through the tunnels of Guanajuato, twice. Driver Elfyn Evans was second quickest on both passes and finished in second place overall, whilst Ogier landed in sixth position and Rovanperä secured eighth. There were only four seconds difference between Evans and Rovanperä.
Climbing places and securing top positions
Ogier moved into second position during the opening test, El Chocolate on day two. He followed this by claiming the lead with the fastest time in SS4 Ortega along with two further stage wins on the Autodromo super special which increased his and Ingrassia’s advantage to 13.2 seconds.
Evans also had a successful day, climbing from seventh place to third. Rookie driver Rovanperä suffered a damaged tyre in SS3, so was cautious through much of the morning but quickly progressed later in the day, winning the León street test and claiming fifth place.
A sixth Mexico win for Ogier
The concluding part of the race was brought forward by a day, due to changing travel restrictions connected to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and to ensure safe onward travel for the teams, officials and spectators.
Ogier continued to dominate on day three. Leading by 13.2 seconds, he wowed crowds on SS13 Guanajuatito gaining a final winning margin of 27.8 seconds. It is his sixth Mexico win in eight years (behind the wheel of four different cars) and it put him firmly in the lead of the championship.
Evans finished in fourth with co-driver Scott Martin, whilst Rovanperä flew into fifth, his third top five finish. The driver was within a few seconds of securing a podium place but was disadvantaged by running early in the road order.
Leading the championship
Thanks to the efforts of its all-new driver line-up, who have secured two wins in the first three events of the season, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team are now leading the manufacturer’s championship by 21 points.
With Rally Argentina having been postponed due to measures regarding the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the next event on the WRC schedule is the Rally de Portugal on May 21-24.
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