Kris Meeke survived a last minute scare on the power stage to win Rally Guanajuato Mexico.
Meeke came into the final stage with a 37 second lead after winning the day’s first stage but nearly threw it all away with a mistake 500m away from the finish line.
The Citroen ran wide on a corner, went through a hedge, nearly rolling in the process, and emerged in a spectators car park.
After narrowly avoiding the parked cars, Meeke turned the car around and drove on to victory, abeit with a much reduced 13.8 second margin.
“I got caught out on a bump after the jump,” Meeke said at the finish.
“I’m a lucky, lucky boy. That’s one way to finish the rally but we didn’t need that…”
Ogier Regains Championship Lead
Behind him was Sébastien Ogier who also finished second in the power stage, a result that regains the Championship lead.
The Frenchman was very pleased with his work on his gravel debut with the M-Sport team.
“It’s been a strong performance,” he noted.
“We did what we could, we have to be happy with that. It has been an important result.”
Behind him was powerstage winner Thierry Neuville, the Belgian finally giving Hyundai the result they deserve after the disappointments in the previous two events.
Behind him was M-Sport’s Ott Tanak who cemented his third place in the championship with a solid run to fourth.
Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon rued bad luck that prevented him from finishing higher than fifth.
Behind him were the two Toyotas with previous Championship leader Jari-Matti Latvala conceding his lead on the rally that he expected would prove to be the team’s worst event of the season.
Behind him, Juho Hanninen managed to complete a full event for the first time this year despite having to battle illness throughout the previous two days.
Dani Sordo’s Hyundai and Elfyn Evans’ Team DMACK Fiesta rounded out the rest of the WRC runners.
Evan’s performance had been handicapped due to a five minute penalty being imposed for an engine change after the Shakedown.
Without the penalty he would have finished in sixth place.
Tidemand Secures Skoda’s Sixth Straight WRC2 Win
In WRC2 Pontus Tidemand managed to secure Skoda’s sixth straight WRC2 victory but only after a close and exciting battle with M-Sport’s Éric Camilli.
The Skoda driver held a two second overnight lead but managed to extend it to 42 seconds by the end as Camilli struggled with an incorrect set-up and limited knowledge on the roads due to not having done a recce of these stages.
“It was difficult this morning. I’m a bit sad,” the Frenchman rued at the finish.
“I’m happy to be second but we wanted to win.”
Local Skoda driver Benito Guerra Jr rounded out the WRC2 podium.
Valeriy Gorban took victory in the WRC Trophy category in which he was the only competitor.
The Ukrainian Mini driver finished 13th overall in the final standings.