Sport The second day of the Mexico rally created big gaps and, barring an accident, only Esapekka Lappi and Sébastien Ogier should play for victory. The two pilots are held in five seconds.
Sébastien Ogier can still believe in a historic seventh victory in the Mexico Rally! The French driver seems in any case the only one able to compete with Esapekka Lappi, in the lead at the end of the second day. While former leader Ott Tänak experienced turbo problems on Friday morning, Lappi and Ogier continued their day without incident. During the second pass on the famous and difficult “El Chocolate” special, the two drivers created a gap on the competition. Separated by only two seconds (the Finn ahead of the French) at the end of the 29 kilometres, they relegated all the other drivers by more than twenty seconds!
The following stage (marked by the problems at the front left of Dani Sordo’s car, falling from 4th to 6th place overall) was twice as short, and this time it was Ogier who beat Lappi by two seconds to return to three tenths in the general classification. The Finn paid him back in SS8 by beating him by three seconds. Rebelotte in the next, with three new seconds gained by Lappi against Ogier, a little embarrassed by the lack of grip. The last stage of the day, 13.79km long, saw Dani Sordo win, but with only a handful of seconds over the other drivers.
Sport Lappi is over the moon
After ten specials, Esapekka Lappi is ahead of Sébastien Ogier by five seconds and Elfyn Evans by 30, and there are only five drivers in the same minute. At the end of the day, the Frenchman was satisfied and ready to fight until the end for victory, but without taking too many risks: “It was a good day and I think we can be happy. We couldn’t do much more than take a lot of risk, and that’s never an approach we want to have on this rally. I think Esapekka did a great job, well done to him for today, but there’s still a long way to go. The fight is on and I will continue to do the same tomorrow. We keep pushing but don’t try to do too much. »
His rival was delighted with his day: “I’m a little surprised, but I take it as it is. It was probably one of the best days of my career. I always hoped to be able to fight at the top, but to be in the lead and fight against Séb was never on my mind. I didn’t really think about how this day would go, but I was just confident that our pace would be good. » We now hope for the same battle on Saturday, where nine specials will be on the programme.
RALLY – WRC / MEXICO
Ranking after 10 specials (out of 23) – Friday March 17, 2023
1- Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm (FIN-FIN/Hyundai) en 1h25’12″0
2- Sébastien Ogier – Vincent Landais (FRA-FRA / Toyota) at 5″3
3- Elfyn Evans – Scott Martin (GBR-GBR/Toyota) à 30″1
4- Thierry Neuville – Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL-BEL/Hyundai) à 39″8
5- Kalle Rovanperä – Janne Halttunen (FIN-FIN/Toyota) à 59″7
Tank : 2 (ES1, ES2)
Lapland : 5 (ES3, ES5, ES6, ES8, ES9)
Stallion : 2 (ES4, ES7)
Deaf: 1 (ES10)