Sebastien Ogier largely kept out of trouble, unlike many of his rivals, to win Rally Mexico overall and the Power Stage.
Ogier was handed the lead when Andreas Mikkelsen ran over a rock on Friday and, after a brief challenge from Kris Meeke on the Saturday, the Citroen driver was a comfortable winner in the end.
Toyota Gazoo’s Ott Tanak held on to his World Rally Championship lead by finishing the event in second position, 30.2s back from the title holder, while Elfyn Evans put his M-Sport Ford on the podium.
Thierry Neuville took fourth in his i20 but it was still a disastrous showing from the Hyundai team with both Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo among the retirements.
Mikkelsen had won Stages 2 and 4 and held top spot at the end of the Friday morning loop but the rock put him out and he could only manage 11th overall after coming back under Rally2 regulations.
Ogier steadily increased his advantage through Friday, in part due to woes for more of his competitors, but fell behind Meeke when Car #1 picked up a puncture on the Saturday morning run through Guanajuatito.
His time loss was reduced when he received a notional time due to team-mate Esapekka Lappi getting stuck just off-course, before Meeke’s Yaris also sustained a puncture.
From there, Ogier was never headed, even if he did slip into a hay bale on Saturday afternoon.
The Frenchman went on to help himself to five Power Stage points after just pipping Meeke on the Sunday run through Las Minas.
Evans and Tanak held second and third respectively all the way from Special Stage 11, in which Meeke copped that puncture, until the Estonian overhauled the Brit at the start of Sunday.
Neuville was 1:27.0s behind the winner and 37.1s off third in the end but also took three Power Stage points.
Meeke salvaged fifth, and four Power Stage points, despite also hitting a tyre bundle and suffering gearbox problems on Saturday.
Mexican Benito Guerra won the WRC2 class in sixth outright in his Skoda Fabia R5, while Lukasz Pieniazek topped WRC2 Pro in 12th outright in an M-Sport Ford.
Jari-Matti Latvala came back under Rally2 following an electrical problem for his Toyota to finish eighth overall and collect a Power Stage point.
A position further back for the event was Sordo, who also retired during the weekend with a battery problem before taking two points each from his overall result and Power Stage performance.
Lappi was 14th in the end, also via Rally2.
Teemu Suninen’s rally came to an early end when crashed his M-Sport Ford on a rockface during the Friday morning pass through El Chocolate.
Round 4 is the Tour de Corse in France on March 28-31.
Rally Mexico: Results (Top 10)
|1||1||S. OGIER||Citroen Total WRT||M||RC1||3:37:08.0|
|2||8||O. TÄNAK||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||M||RC1||+30.2|
|3||33||E. EVANS||M-Sport Ford World Rally Team||M||RC1||+49.9|
|4||11||T. NEUVILLE||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||M||RC1||+1:27.0|
|5||5||K. MEEKE||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||M||RC1||+6:06.2|
|6||41||B. GUERRA||Benito Guerra||WRC2||RC2||+15:35.5|
|7||42||M. BULACIA WILKINSON||Marco Bulacia Wilkinson||WRC2||RC2||+18:51.5|
|8||10||J. LATVALA||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||M||RC1||+18:55.9|
|9||6||D. SORDO||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||M||RC1||+22:44.1|
|10||81||R. TRIVINO BUJALIL||Ricardo Triviño Bujalil||None||RC2||+26:21.7|
Rally Mexico: Power Stage (Bonus points)
|1||1||Sébastien OGIER||Citroen Total WRT||6:30.4||5|
|2||5||Kris MEEKE||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||+0.0||4|
|3||11||Thierry NEUVILLE||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||+0.5||3|
|4||6||Dani SORDO||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||+4.8||2|
|5||4||Esapekka LAPPI||Citroen Total WRT||+4.9||1|
|12||Marco BULACIA WILKINSON||BOL||6|
|17||Ole Christian VEIBY||FIN||2|
|21||Ricardo TRIVINO BUJALIL||MEX||1|
|22||Guillaume DE MEVIUS||BEL||0|
|1||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||86|
|2||Citroen Total WRT||78|
|3||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||77|
|4||M-Sport Ford World Rally Team||45|