WRC: Trying times in Mexico as Ogier retains lead

WRC: Trying times in Mexico as Ogier retains lead

Citroen's Sebastien Ogier in action in the WRC Rally of Mexico. Picture credit: AFP

Sebastien Ogier retained his grip on the lead in a dusty dramatic start to Saturday's racing at the Rally of Mexico when Esapekka Lappi's Citroen partially blocked the road after sliding into a ditch.

Finland's Lappi went off script in the opening speed test in Guanajuato, his car stranded at the side of the road. Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans squeezed past before organisers stopped the stage for safety reasons.

Before the stoppage Ogier had suffered a puncture on his Citroen, leaving Meeke with a 1.3sec overall lead.

World champion Ogier was back at the top of the time sheets after the next stage when Meeke lost valuable ground after puncturing his Toyota.

"It's not been a trouble-free morning because we picked up the puncture first thing," Ogier told the world rally championship's website.

"When you do not have another spare, there's always pressure not to make mistakes."

After the morning's three stages Ogier led Evans by 22.9sec, with championship leader Ott Tanak placed third at 0.453sec ahead of the day's closing five stages.

Jari-Matti Latvala was quickest in stages 11 and 12 but is down in ninth, more than 16 minutes off the lead. He was penalised for deliberately starting late to enjoy better road conditions.