Rally México was brought to an early end with our Estonians Ott and Martin celebrating their second consecutive podium with our team. The pair fought back valiantly from an incident on Friday morning’s loop to finish runners-up in the curtailed event.
The opening day included a loop of three stages – the infamous El Chocolate (SS3/SS7, 31.45km), Ortega (SS4, 17.24km) and Las Minas (SS5/SS9, 13.69km).
Ott admitted that running wide on Ortega cost him the chance of fighting for victory: “We had the performance to win this weekend,” he said. “The incident on Friday morning was my mistake, and I accept full blame for that. We then just tried to get the most out of the rest of the event, and could slowly, slowly make up time and positions.”
The crew mounted an impressive comeback and demonstrated competitive pace with six stage wins. Their second-place finish marked our third podium of 2020 after victory in Monte-Carlo and second in Sweden.
Thierry and Nicolas also put up a strong charge but were forced to relinquish their battle for the podium with electrical problems on the second run of Las Minas. They, too, continued to set scintillating times with eight stage wins over the weekend.
“We were caught out by some technical issues on the first proper day of the rally and that put us on the backfoot,” said Thierry. “On a positive note, we have shown that the speed is there to fight for the victory. Together, as a team, we are going to work hard to avoid the sort of problems we’ve had this weekend, and to come back stronger than ever.”
There was also frustration on the opening day for Dani and Carlos, in their first WRC event of the year, as they were forced to retire with mechanical problems. “This was not how we envisaged our Rally México to turn out,” said a despondent Dani. “It’s hard to take when we had such big hopes for this event but that’s rallying sometimes.”
What would become the final day of the rally covered nine stages over a distance of 133.74km. A repeat loop of Guanajuatito (24.96km), Alfaro (16.99km) and Derramadero (21.78km) was followed by two runs through the Autodromo Shell V-Power stage and the 1.62km Rock & Rally León.
Our two crews added more stage wins to their respective tallies with Thierry/Nicolas leading a 1-2 for our team in SS14 (Alfaro 1) and SS19/SS20 (Autodromo Shell V-Power). Ott/Martin did the same in SS17 (Alfaro) and SS18 (Derramadero). All in all, we registered 15 fastest times across our three crews, underscoring the potential the team had to fight for victory.
The final result sees us cement second place in the manufacturers’ table on 89 points, with Thierry and Ott in third and fifth respectively in the drivers’ standings.
“We cannot deny that it’s been a tricky and complicated rally from many different points of view,” summarised our Team Principal Andrea. “We have to analyse deeply our mistakes to make sure we avoid them in future. Without the crash on Friday, I am sure Ott would have been involved in a much closer battle for victory; he was still able to take second, which is a precious result for our team.”
As a result of global developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), WRC Promoter has already announced that the 2020 Rally Argentina, round four, due to take place between April 23 – 26, has been postponed. As it stands currently, the next round of the championship will be May 21-24 in Portugal.
Final Overall Classification – Rally México
- S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:47:47.6
- O. Tänak / M. Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +27.8
- T. Suninen / J. Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +37.9
- E. Evans S. / Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:13.4
- K. Rovanperä / J. Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2:20.5
- P. Tidemand / P. Barth (Škoda Fabia R5) +10:29.3
- N. Gryazin / Y. Fedorov (Hyundai i20 R5) +12:27.0
- M. Bulacia / G. Bernacchini (Citroën C3 R5) +13:37.5
- G. Greensmith / E. Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +13:56.5
- O.C. Veiby / J. Andersson (Hyundai i20 R5) +15:32.2
2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings After round 3
1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 110
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 89
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 65
2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings After round 3
- S. Ogier 62
- E. Evans 54
- T. Neuville 42
- K. Rovanperä 40
- O. Tänak 38
- T. Suninen 26
- E. Lappi 24
- S. Loeb 8
- T. Katsuta 8
Story and photos courtesy of hyundai.com