MEXICO: The Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 driver, Sébastien Ogier, and his co-driver Vincent Landais defeated the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team driver, Thierry Neuville, and his co-driver, M. Wydaeghe, to achieve his seventh victory at the WRC Guanajuato Rally México 2023, held from March 16–19, 2023, in Leon, Mexico.
Ogier finished with a winning margin of 27.5 seconds ahead of Thierry Neuville to win the same rally where he made his FIA World Rally Championship debut as a junior driver way back in 2008. The winning pair of drivers was presented with a pair of cowboy boots.
With this year’s win, Sébastien Ogier broke the record of six consecutive wins by Sebastien Loeb between 2006 and 2012. Ogier won the rally from 2013 to 2015 and from 2018 to 2020. He dedicated his seventh Guanajuato Rally Mexico win to his late friend and trainer, Tim Lobinger, who passed away in February this year.
Sébastien Ogier, basking in his 57th WRC success, has notched up a three-point lead now in the driver’s championship while his co-driver V Landais secured his second WRC win. Thierry Neuville secured the runner-up spot in the Wolf Power Stage, overtaking Evans by a fraction of a second.
Earlier in the race, at the end of the second day of the rally, Esapekka Lappi was 5.3 seconds ahead of Ogier, but his vehicle crashed onto the bank, spun out of control, and subsequently hit an electricity pole 10.1 kilometres into the first stage on the early third day of the rally.
Ogier took advantage of this unfortunate turn of events and increased the gap to half a minute ahead of his teammate, Elfyn Evans.
The spectators and fans were mesmerised on the third day to watch Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville give their absolute best to secure second place.
They were separated by a fraction of a second on several occasions during the day and ended with Evans taking a 4.3-second lead by night.
Interestingly, World Champion Kalle Rovanperä disappointed his fans as he couldn’t match the trio’s road strength and finally ended up in fourth place. Hyundai’s Dani Sordo and his co-driver Candido Carrera finished fifth.
Toyota leads by 27 points in the manufacturers’ title race compared to Hyundai ahead of next month’s WRC Rally, Rally Croatia, scheduled from April 20–23, 2023, in Croatia’s capital city Zagreb.
WRC Guanajuato Rally México 2023 – Race Result
- S. Ogier & V Landais (Toyota Gazoo Racing) Time: 3:16:09.4, Position: 1st
- T. Neuville & M. Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid),
Time: 3:16:36.9, Position: 2nd
- E. Evans & S. Martin (Tayota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid), Time: 3:16:37.3,
Drivers Championship standings after WRC Guanajuato Rally México 2023
- Sebastien Ogier, Points: 56
- Thierry Neuville, Points: 53
- Kalle Rovanperä, Points: 52
Manufacturers’ standings after WRC Guanajuato Rally México 2023
- Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Points: 127
- Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team, Points: 100
- M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, Points: 73
About WRC Guanajuato Rally México 2023
Guanajuato Rally Mexico was first held as a WRC round in 2004 after the rally moved to Leon in 1998. The rally was organised in Leon this year after a gap of two years.
The stages of the rally climb to an altitude of 2700 m above sea level and travel through dusty and sandy roads amidst stunning scenery of the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato mountains.
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