Sebastien Loeb has taken a fifth straight win on Rally Mexico after Citroen teammate Sebastien Ogier crashed out of the lead on the opening stage on the final day.
The French pair had been battling each other for the victory since the beginning of the rally. Loeb took the lead from Ogier at the start of Day 2, but lost it again in the afternoon when he picked up a time penalty for being late to the start of SS15, after suffering a gearbox issue on the road section.
Ogier carried a lead of 10.5 seconds into the final day, but went off the road on SS20 Guanajuatito, breaking the front left wheel off his DS3 WRC.
Ogier's retirement allowed Loeb to take the lead of the rally once again, which he held on to through the two final stages.
Mikko Hirvonen was promoted to second after Ogier's demise. The Finnish Ford driver suffered from running first on the road on Friday, but also struggled to keep up with the Citroens once his road position improved. Despite this, his second place finish means he retains the championship lead and also picked up three bonus points by winning the end-of-rally power stage. Loeb picked up two points for finishing second on that stage, with Petter Solberg third.
Hirvonen's teammate Jari-Matti Latvala completed the podium, having lost time earlier in the rally from two separate punctures. Petter Solberg came home fourth in his privately-entered DS3 WRC. The Norwegian dropped all the way down to 13th at the end of Friday when he lost seven minutes with a mechanical issue on his car.
Mads Ostberg finished fifth after recovering from a puncture on Day 1, while Henning Solberg made it home in sixth despite a loss of power steering in his similar M-Sport Stobart Fiesta.
The high rate of attrition allowed the S-WRC frontrunners to finish in the top ten overall in their Super 2000-spec machines. Nasser Al-Attiyah followed up his Dakar win by taking the honours in seventh overall, beating Martin Prokop and Juho Hanninen.
Federico Villagra took the final point in 10th, despite crashing out on the first real stage of the rally and returning under superally rules on Saturday morning before being blighted by brake issues and crawling through the power stage with a broken driveshaft. These issues left him more than 48 minutes down on the winner.
Ken Block suffered a miserable weekend in which he retired his Fiesta three times. He was plagued by electrical faults throughout the rally and also broke his front suspension in a crash on Saturday. Despite this he was set to take the final point in 10th until yet another electrical problem on the penultimate stage dropped him down to 13th.
Matthew Wilson was running in a career-best equalling fourth place on Friday when he too suffered electrical issues that retired him for good, while Evgeny Novikov made a promising WRC return until he suffered an oil leak while running in fifth. Dennis Kuipers was an impressive seventh for the Ferm team until he rolled his Fiesta on Saturday morning.
Top 10 overall:
1. Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) 3h53m17.0s
2. Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) + 1m38.4s
3. Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) + 2m23.9s
4. Petter Solberg (PSWRT Citroen) + 7m18.4s
5. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford) + 8m43.5s
6. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford) + 9m50.0s
7. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Barwa Ford) + 13m21.5s
8. Martin Prokop (Czech Ford) + 13m35.0s
9. Juho Hanninen (Red Bull Skoda) + 14m48.7s
10. Federico Villagra (Munchi’s Ford) + 48m17.2s