Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala has conceded defeat in Mexico after he picked up a puncture in SS15, the repeat-run through Ibarrilla 2.
The Finn, who had been leading until he hit a rock on Friday in SS5 and broke a front left suspension arm, was on a charge and keen to try and keep the pressure on the Citroen's of Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen ahead of him. This morning he took third, but on the middle loop today he hit another rock and broke the wheel. As a result the tyre started to deflate and he lost around 50 seconds. He now drops to fourth, 3 seconds off his team-mate, Petter Solberg and over 2 minutes off the lead.
“Now we can forget the fight for the first two positions, I've tried but that is the conclusion,” Latvala told the official WRC site. “We went over some bed rock on the inside of the corner. It broke the wheel, not the tyre but the air came out. We did 25 kilometres on this tyre. Now we need to concentrate to get third place.”
Latvala wasn't the only runner to lose time with a puncture, however, as Ott Tanak also had problems and lost around a minute in the same test. Tanak remains sixth, but his M-Sport Ford team-mate, Evgeny Novikov has now closed up and is just 4.2 seconds behind.
Meanwhile, at the front, Loeb continues to increase his advantage and having won SS15, he is 21.7 seconds up on the sister works Citroen DS3 WRC car of Hirvonen. Behind Solberg and Latvala, Mads Ostberg completes the top five, only 1.8 seconds off P4...