Jari-Matti Latvala is on course to open his 2016 World Rally Championship account with following another commanding day at Rally Mexico.
The Volkswagen driver won all six gravel speed tests to add to his clean sweep of dirt road wins yesterday, eclipsing world champion Sebastien Ogier and literally leaving all others in his dust.
The Finn started with a 32.5sec lead over team-mate Ogier but extended that to 95 seconds during the longest day of the event which covered 152.40km.
“The feeling in the car was brilliant. The way Miikka (co-driver, Anttila) read the pace notes was perfect. Everything has come together,” said Latavala.
“It’s important to have a 1sec/km difference for tomorrow because you can then back off if the tyres or brakes become too hot.”
Dani Sordo overcame a host of minor issues to hold third in his Hyundai i20. Andreas Mikkelsen (VW) had closed to within a handful of seconds of snatching Sordo’s podium place until he crashed out in the afternoon’s long Otates test.
His demise promoted Mads Ostberg (Ford) to fourth, with Hayden Paddon glancing a bank and the impact broke his i20’s rear left suspension arm. Further issues for the Kiwi included overheating brakes and gearshift problems and he ended 53.3sec behind.
“We got the tyre choice right, but still just some little issues inside the car – little technical problems which you can expect with a new car like this on gravel for the first time,”said Paddon.
“We’ll press the reset button tonight. The position’s still okay, we’re in the top five, but I obviously want to improve to we’ll work on that tomorrow.”
Ott Tanak avoided serious problems to hold sixth in a Fiesta RS, with Martin Prokop, Lorenzo Bertelli, WRC 2 leader Teemu Suninen and Valeriy Gorban completing the leaderboard.
Just two stages comprise the final leg but the first one is an 80km test followed by the final live TV Agua Zarca Power Stage, with bonus points for the fastest three drivers.
VIDEO: Morning Stages
VIDEO: Afternoon Stages
LEADERBOARD : Leg 2 – Rally Mexico
|1||Jari-Matti Latvala||Volkswagen Motorsport||Volkswagen||3h27m22.8s|
|2||Sebastien Ogier||Volkswagen Motorsport||Volkswagen||1m35.7s|
|3||Dani Sordo||Hyundai Motorsport||Hyundai||2m40.4s|
|4||Mads Ostberg||M-Sport World Rally Team||Ford||4m48.8s|
|5||Hayden Paddon||Hyundai Motorsport N||Hyundai||5m42.1s|
|6||Ott Tanak||DMACK World Rally Team||Ford||7m50.5s|
|7||Martin Prokop||Jipocar Czech National Team||Ford||9m23.5s|
|8||Lorenzo Bertelli||FWRT s.r.l.||Ford||10m19.5s|
|9||Teemu Suninen||TGS Worldwide Ou||Skoda||12m33.7s|
|10||Valeriy Gorban||Eurolamp WRT||Mini/BMW||27m39.2s|