Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota Yaris) and Esapekka Lappi (Hyundai i20) were the fastest drivers in the shakedown for the Rally Mexico on Thursday. Both Finns were three tenths faster than six-time winner Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris). Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) had to be satisfied with the sixth fastest time, at 2.9.
Pierre-Louis Loubet (Ford Puma) was eighth fastest. Jourdan Serderidis and Frederic Miclotte (Ford Puma) the seventeenth time.
The shakedown was organized on a 5.52 kilometer course. Conditions were dry and very warm. For the drivers, it was the first meters on unpaved roads of the early season. Rovanperä set the fastest time on his third run and for a long time it looked like he would win the shakedown, until Esapekka Lappi crossed the course a fourth time and recorded the same time.
“It was what we expected,” said Rovanperä who will start the opening stage second behind championship leader Ott Tänak on Friday. “During the first pass it was slippery and there was no clear driving line. That will also be the case tomorrow. Even though Tänak has to be the first on track, with only one car there is not really a driving line.”
“It was a good shakedown,” said a satisfied Lappi. “We tried a few things on the second and third passage, but it didn’t yield much. On the fourth pass we went back to the original set-up and it turned out to be good.”
Ogier drove the third fastest time and was 1.1 sec faster than Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20). The Spaniard is driving his first race of the season in Mexico and can take advantage of his good starting position on Friday. The participants then face two short super specials of 1.12 kilometers each.