Sebastien Ogier won his first rally as a Toyota driver by 27.8 seconds ahead of Ott Tänak, after the Estonian leapfrogged Teemu Suninen late on Saturday evening on the shortened Rally Mexico.
The rally ended earlier than planned due to the everchanging COVID-19 outbreak, meaning only 21 of the 24 stages were completed as the rally organisers and the FIA chose to help everyone involved with the championship return home quicker with border restrictions rapidly coming into force.
The shorter event didn’t stop Ogier from claiming his sixth win in Mexico however, and after taking the lead early on Friday, didn’t look back throughout the remainder of the rally, gradually increasing his lead across the two days of action.
Hyundai driver Tänak had dropped nearly 45 seconds due to breaking his suspension on Friday morning, but the Estonian stormed back up through the field with several stage winning times, finished off with grabbing second from Suninen on stage 18. He went on to beat the M-Sport Ford driver by 10.1 seconds overall.
Suninen’s Saturday was made more difficult due to a brake issue on his Ford Fiesta WRC, although he held on to claim his third WRC podium ahead of Elfyn Evans who was 35.5 seconds further behind in fourth.
The Welshman, who’s weekend was disrupted early on due to being tasked with road sweeping duties, had a relatively quiet weekend and picked up vital championship points as a result.
Kalle Rovanperä made it all three Toyota’s in the top five, although was over two minutes behind teammate and rally winner Ogier on his first fully gravel event for the Japanese manufacturer.
After his retirement from Friday with electrical issues, Thierry Neuville returned to action and set several stage winning times throughout the day as he went on to score manufacturer points for the Hyundai team after Dani Sordo’s withdrawal from the event on Friday.
With several drives including Sordo and Neuville, Esapekka Lappi, who’s Fiesta was destroyed by a fire on Friday afternoon and Gus Greensmith, who stopped on the second test of Saturday morning, all either out of the event or dropping a lot of time, this enabled Pontus Tidemand to take the WRC2 win in sixth overall.
The Swede’s return to the class could not have gone better after leading from start to finish and he ended the rally almost two minutes ahead of Nikolay Gryazin.
WRC3 also saw a dominating performance – Marco Bulaica Wilkinson won the class over four minutes ahead of nearest rival Emilio Fernandez.
The next scheduled round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship is Rally Portugal, which is planned to take place between May 21-24.