Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“The way Sébastien and Julien tackled this event has just been extraordinary. It was an incredible performance right from the start and what they achieved from their road position on Friday was amazing. Then on Saturday afternoon, we saw Sébastien at his best. In my opinion that has to be his best drive since joining the team – going from fifth to first in the space of a day was quite remarkable.
“The pressure is most definitely on us as a team now. We know they are not going to let us down, and we need to ensure everything is 100 percent at every rally. But it was great to see the progress that we’ve made. This time last year we weren’t quite able to challenge for the win, but this year was a different story. We haven’t stopped working, and it’s great to see all the hard work paying off.”
Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsport, Mark Rushbrook, said:
“Congratulations to Sébastien and Julien on today’s well-deserved victory. Coming from a nearly 30 second deficit to win by more than a minute is incredible. We are proud of the work that the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has done with the Ford Fiesta WRC, and look forward to the team’s continued success in 2018.”




Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have taken their fourth Rally Mexico victory – on the tenth anniversary of their FIA World Rally Championship debut.
The French pairing have long had an affiliation with this event, and that continued this weekend as they displayed all the attributes of a five-time World Champion.
Patience, focus, speed and determination – Ogier had it all as he overcame the disadvantage of an unfavourable road position through the opening stages. Making the best of every situation, he chose his moments perfectly.
Whilst having to contend with some of the loosest gravel through the opening speed tests, a stunning drive saw him limit the potential time loss – ending the day just 31 seconds adrift of the lead.
With a slightly improved road position on the second day, he pushed hard – four fastest stage times transforming fifth place and a 31 second deficit into first place and a 35.9 second advantage.
Embarking on the final day of competition, Ogier not only managed but increased his advantage – securing a second victory for the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC by more than a minute and regaining the lead at the head of the championship standings.


Sébastien Ogier (1st) said:
“I’m super happy today and this win is a fantastic way for me and Julien to celebrate our tenth year anniversary in the FIA World Rally Championship. It started in 2008 with a win in the Junior category and so many great things have happened here since then – this win, I think, being one of the best. 
“This weekend we really gave it everything. Julien was perfect, and the team were so strong as well. The victory is great of course, but it’s the performance that was really good. We’ve made such a big improvement from last year, and that is a big positive for the rest of the season.
“I was pretty much on the limit all weekend. When you’re early on the road you’re trying your best but the time is still far away from those starting behind. There’s always some frustration coming with that, but you have to keep going and not give up. 
“That’s what we did, and on the second day – when our road position was a bit better – we kept pushing and were able to take the lead in the afternoon. 
“We can be very proud this weekend, and there’s not a lot we could have done better. We gave it everything – right up until the final stage.”



How would you assess this first rally of the season on gravel?

Well, Kris’ third place is obviously positive in terms of points as it means that he moves up the standings in the drivers’ world championship. It is also our second consecutive podium this year, which suggests that we are certainly moving in the right direction, and it also means that we have closed to within just one point of second place in the manufacturers’ world championship standings. Having held the overall lead for a while on day two, and even had both C3 WRCs briefly in the top three, we might well have hoped for an even better result, but that’s racing for you!

The other source of satisfaction must be the majestic performance of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena…

Yes, that’s the least you can say! We know all about their talent, but they have literally blown us away here, even managing to set fastest times on stages that they have not contested before and taking the lead right in the middle of the battle. On that basis alone, they definitely deserved a podium place. It may seem slightly perverse for nine-time world rally champions, but they paid a heavy price for their lack of knowledge of the tyres now used in the WRC when they had their puncture. Let’s hope that it’s only a matter of time and they get their podium place at the Tour de Corse! In light of the performance they produced this weekend, I can’t really see how they won’t be just as able to get among the frontrunners.

What is your view of the performance of the team?

I would like to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate each and every one of them because they have all produced high quality work! With eight stage wins at a rally renowned for being one of the most demanding for the cars – but also for the human body – due to the altitude and the heat, we finished the event as best performer among the manufacturers, which shows how extremely competitive we are. And what’s more, we did it without the slightest technical problem. That’s not a question of luck, it comes down to relentless hard work and dedication. It is also yet further evidence of the constant progress made by our C3 WRCs.



Fourth overall at that point, Sébastien Loeb claimed his first stage win of the weekend on the second run on El Chocolate (31.44km) during Friday’s leg, whereas he was 14.6s off the pace on the first pass. Co-driver of the French ace since 1998, Daniel Elena knows him better than anyone. He gave us his analysis of this stunning performance, incredibly achieved on a stage they had not contested before this weekend…

“It’s simple, it’s absolutely typical of Loeb! He analysed his ‘below-par performance’ on the first pass, and put it right on the second run. He doesn’t make the same mistake twice! He then drove that stage in typical Loeb fashion, i.e. clean as a whistle, whereas he had pushed too hard in the morning. It was the fact that it was Dani Sordo who had set the fastest time on the first pass that had got him thinking, because Dani also has a precise driving style on twisty, technical sections. I can’t honestly say I was surprised by anything this weekend, except perhaps that we didn’t make the right call with the puncture. I always thought that it was possible to make this kind of comeback, I know what he’s like. I think he has only got better since we retired from the WRC. The WTCC gave him something else, as did cross-country rallying and rallycross, which helped him to work on his reflexes, with him being constantly sideways in a 560 horsepower car!”Toyota Gazoo Racing : 

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) 

“Today has been a positive way to end a difficult weekend. To win all three stages was a big bonus for us and we were happy that it worked out on the Power Stage for Ott to score some important points. It was good to see that his car was performing as it should: the team did a good job to fix the problem yesterday. I was also pleased to see Jari-Matti also do some good times today and that he was enjoying the driving. It was obviously disappointing to have the technical issues earlier in the weekend but to score good points today has made everyone happy and we are looking forward to the next event.” 

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7) 
“I had a fantastic feeling this morning and the car felt very good. We had a really big push and won the first stage. Then the second stage was also really good, even though we had to save the tyres a bit. In the Power Stage I gave it everything and I’m really happy to finish second fastest with my road position. It has been a difficult weekend but to retire from one day and still come back and score eight points is good. Overall I know that the car performance is there, and now I am starting to find the performance in myself.” 

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8) 
“Today we were putting everything on the Power Stage. We had nothing to lose and just wanted to get these five points. The car was performing really well and I felt really comfortable in the car so I could give an extra push. Of course I’m not happy with the overall result as we were in contention for the win, but we still have a long season ahead of us and the performance side has been good. It was my first time on gravel in the car, we learned a lot and we can see many places where we can improve.” 

Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9) 
“Today we were concentrating on the Power Stage, so in the first two stages we just wanted to get through them, check the pace-notes and save the tyres. It has been a tough weekend for us. The highlight has actually been the spectator stages. In our pre-event test we did some work on a go-kart track and we managed to find some new things which seem to have worked, because last evening I almost did the fastest time on the street stage. Previously we had been losing a lot of time in those. We also gained a lot of experience and data, which we can use to improve next year.” 


A stunning performance from our Spaniards Dani and Carlos resulted in a well-deserved podium result in Mexico, as we claimed our best result in the gruelling gravel rally.

On another dramatic and incident-filled day, our #6 crew grabbed second position to register our third top-three result of the season. With Andreas/Anders taking fourth place and Thierry/Nicolas in sixth, we extended our lead in the WRC manufacturers’ standings to 12 points. A job well done! 

“We have witnessed once again just how tough Rally México can be, with lots of drama right up to the Power Stage,” said our Team Principal Michel. “We are delighted to finish the weekend with our best Mexico result and to increase our championship lead.”

Second best

Starting the day in third place, Dani was keen to push for second. In the end, the position came to him after Kris Meeke lost time on the opening stage of Sunday morning. The result was his best since finishing second in Spain 2016. 

“I am very happy,” said a smiling Dani at the end of the Power Stage. “A podium result is so important and we made the most of our road position in these really tricky gravel stages. Thanks to Carlos and to the whole team for this result.”

Andreas and Anders picked up two extra points in the final stage to take his season-to-date total to 35, and to move up to third in the standings.

“It has not been an easy rally for us,” he reflected. “There were definitely areas where we could have attacked more, but finishing fourth gives us important points.”

Power and pressure

Thierry and Nicolas also gave a push in the Power Stage to keep the pressure on rally winner Sébastien Ogier in the championship hunt. 

“We approached the final morning of the rally determined to score as many points as possible. I’m happy to take three extra points away from what has been a very tough weekend.”

Michel concluded: “Like all teams, we had some issues to deal with in Mexico, but finishing with all three Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars inside the top-six in such a demanding event is very encouraging.”

The WRC moves back to tarmac in April as Corsica hosts the fourth round of the season from 5-8 April.

SOURCE WRC TEAMS www.wrc.com