Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Mexico after three short street stages which opened the event in Guanajuato.
The popular and spectacular run not only on the streets but also through tunnels dating back to when the town was the world’s silver mining centre.
The street stage was the opener before two runs at a super special stage at Leon’s race circuit.
“It’s not a big lead but it’s better than nothing,” said the Volkswagen ace.
“Everything counts and we have done our job tonight, now we’re looking forward to the real start of the rally tomorrow.”
Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) topped the times in the short stage ahead of Lorenzo Bertelli’s Ford Fiesta RS.
On the twin super special stages Ogier was the class of the field. The world champion’s leading Neuville, Jari-Matti Latvala (VW), Andreas Mikkelsen (VW), Dani Sordo (Hyundai) and Kiwi Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) on the overall time sheets.
“The atmosphere tonight has been amazing – it has been about the fans today and not the driving,” said Paddon.
“Super Special stages (are) an area for me to work on, but tonight was not so bad. Now we are ready for the real challenge of Rally México tomorrow morning.”
“Tomorrow’s stages look great but we’ve never them done before, so we’ve got a lot to learn.”
The action continues tomorrow in the mountains above Guanajuato when two gravel stages are driven twice, split by a short asphalt test on roads around Leon’s service park. The day closes with two more stages at the city’s race circuit, making a total of 145.15km.
Times after SS3 – Rally Mexico
|1||Sebastien Ogier||Volkswagen Motorsport||Volkswagen||4:16.5|
|2||Thierry Neuville||Hyundai Motorsport||Hyundai||+0:01.7|
|3||Jari-Matti Latvala||Volkswagen Motorsport||Volkswagen||+0:03.3|
|4||Andreas Mikkelsen||Volkswagen Motorsport II||Volkswagen||+0:03.8|
|5||Dani Sordo||Hyundai Motorsport||Hyundai||+0:04.1|
|6||Hayden Paddon||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai||+0:04.6|
|7||Lorenzo Bertelli||FWRT s.r.l.||Ford||+0:05.7|
|8||Martin Prokop||Jipocar Czech National Team||Ford||+0:05.8|
|9||Ott Tanak||DMACK World Rally Team||Ford||+0:05.9|