Esapekka Lappi (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) finished the second day of the Rally Mexico as the leader. The Finn won five of the eight special stages on Friday and is 5.3 seconds ahead of Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris Rally1). Elfyn Evans (Toyota Yaris Rally1) is third and manages to keep Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) off the podium for the time being. The Belgian is fourth at 39.8 seconds behind his Finnish teammate. Neuville had expected a better result beforehand, but he had some problems and is satisfied overall.
The first gravel rally of the season was also driven at a high altitude. It did worry the drivers beforehand because the hybrid rally cars had never driven in such a thin air before. Neuville has never won in Mexico and he was aiming for the podium beforehand. After the second day of competition, he is fourth at 9.7 seconds from third place.
“And yet we expected more from this day,” Neuville begins his analysis. “Friday morning on the second stage we hit a bump that wasn’t there during the recon and we lost the hybrid. In this stage, driven at a high altitude and with long straights, we lost a lot of time, which had an impact on our position.”
This contains embedded content from a social media network that wants to write or read cookies. You have not given permission for this.
All day tinkering
Whether that bump was the cause of a series of problems is hard to pinpoint. The fact is that Neuville and Wydaeghe had to tinker a lot. “I actually worked on the car all day. For example, there were problems with a drive shaft whose grease melted away due to the heat. After each ride, we had to try and fix it. During the eighth ride of the day, a shock absorber jammed. We were able to fix this on the way to the next ride. All those problems could have cost us a lot more time, so we are actually lucky that we made it to the finish.”
“In the end we have a lead of about twenty seconds on Rovanperä and less than 10 seconds behind Evans. Then I can only say that we did a good job.”