Citroen’s Kris Meeke wins the 2017 Rally Mexico in dramatic circumstances following an incident on the final stage of the rally.
Meeke had been the overall leader since stage four and had a 37 second lead going into the final stage; the 33km Power Stage ‘La Calera’. Towards the end of the stage, a bump caught out the Northern Irishman and was inches away from crashing into a spectators Volkswagen. Having navigated through an array of parked cars, he managed to rejoin the stage and take overall victory, 13.8 seconds in front of reigning champion Sébastien Ogier.
“I’m a lucky, lucky boy,” said Meeke in a post-rally interview. “I got caught out in that bump after the jump. There’s a bump through the fast right. It’s certainly one way to finish a rally. We didn’t need that but we’re okay.”
This is Meeke’s and co-driver Paul Nagle’s fourth WRC victory and the first victory for Citroen’s brand new C3 World Rally Car. Ogier managed second overall and took an additional four points for finishing runner-up on the Power Stage. Thierry Neuville’s rotten bad luck has come to an end with a third place finish followed by a Power Stage victory that will earn him 20 points in total from Mexico.
In a close battle for WRC-2 honours, Skoda’s Pontus Tidemand got the better of M-Sport’s Eric Camilli. The duo swapped places for most of the rally but the Swede eventually pulled away on the final two stages, finishing with a 45 seconds lead and tenth overall, giving him one World Championship point.
Ogier’s consistency means the Ford drivers remains top of the Drivers Championship with 66 points, eight clear of Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala who only managed a sixth place finish in Mexico. Despite victory, this is Meeke’s first points finish after retiring in Monte Carlo and mustered two Power Stage points from 12th overall in Sweden. The Dungannon native is sixth in the championship, one point off Thierry Neuville who also managed his first top 10 finish of the season as well as his second Power Stage victory.
Next on the schedule is the Tour de Corse in a months time. The French round will take place on the island of Corsica between the 7th and 9th April.