Ogier wins in Mexico to retake championship lead

LEÓN: Sébastien Ogier regained the lead in the world rally championship on Sunday with victory in Rally Mexico for the M-Sport Ford team.

The five-time world champion finished one minute, 13.6 seconds ahead of Spain’s Hyundai driver Dani Sordo, with the UK’s Kris Meeke, last year’s winner in the Guanajuato-based event, third for Citroën.

Reigning champion Ogier, who has now won two of the season’s three rounds to date, also took an extra four points for the second-fastest time in the final Power Stage won by Estonian Ott Tänak in a Toyota.

Frenchman Ogier, a four-time winner in Mexico, had gone into the weekend 10 points behind Hyundai’s Belgian Thierry Neuville, who finished sixth on Sunday with an additional two bonus points.

Ogier now has 60 points and leads Neuville by nine.

France’s nine-times world champion Sébastien Loeb, making the first of three guest appearances with Citroen this season, had led early on but finished fifth after losing time with a puncture.

Meeke had been on course for second place before a crash three stages from the end tipped his car on its side, leaving the Northern Irishman third after spectators helped get him back on the road.

“I’ve never been as frustrated with a third place,” said Meeke, who beat Ogier last year despite a late excursion into a car park. “I feel a bit stupid. I had everything to win the rally and I didn’t do the job.”

The next rally is in Ajaccio, Corsica, on April 5-8.