Championship leader Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Mexico following the two short super specials on Thursday night.
Ogier was joint third in the 1.01km Guanajuato test, 0.4 seconds off SS1 pace setter and early leader, Thierry Neuville. However, he then beat the Belgian by 1.6s in SS2 - the 4.6km test held at the Leon motor racing circuit – and now heads into the overnight halt with 1.2s cushion.
“My goal when I came to Mexico was to do my very best, and that is exactly what I tried to do today,” said the Volkswagen pilot.
“We made a successful start to the rally. The key tomorrow is to push as hard and drive as fast as possible. Then let's see how things are looking tomorrow evening. We are thinking one day at a time,” added the Frenchman, who will be at a disadvantage running first in the order on Friday and Saturday and who is likely to lose time sweeping the roads as a result.
Neuville dropped to joint second with Andreas Mikkelsen post-SS2, while Jari-Matti Latvala is fourth, 0.6s further back and Mads Ostberg fifth.
“I think the fans got their money's worth today,” said Mikkelsen. “The special stage in Guanajuato is one of a kind and one of the season's emotional highlights. My team-mate Jari-Matti and I had a good battle on the Super Special stage. I only managed to pull just ahead of him at the very end. However, the real Rally Mexico does not really start until tomorrow, and we have a lot of really challenging stages ahead of us. I am already looking forward to it.”
“The opening in Guanajuato was amazing – the passionate fans at the start and along the route once again created an incredible atmosphere,” Latvala added. “On the whole, the first two stages were okay. Maybe I was a little too cautious at times.
“However, we still have three long days of rallying ahead of us, and the leaders are closely bunched at the moment.”
Behind, Kris Meeke wound up sixth, ahead of Ott Tanak, Robert Kubica, Dani Sordo and Lorenzo Bertelli in positions 7 through to 10.
Hayden Paddon concludes the day down in 17th after a spin in SS2, left him 12.8s off the pace.
In WRC2, Yuriy Protasov was fastest in SS1 and SS2 to build a 3.5s cushion over Jari Ketomaa. Nicolas Fuchs holds third.
The action now continues on Friday with eight stages on the bill and a total competitive distance of 145.13 km.
SS3, Los Mexicanos 1, is scheduled to start at 09.02 hours local time [15.02 hours UK time]. Full itinerary for event available - HERE
2015 Rally Mexico: Overall standings after Stage 2 (Top 10):
1. Sebastien Ogier
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 4m 13.0s
2. Thierry Neuville
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +0m 1.2s
= Andreas Mikkelsen
Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +0m 1.2s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala
Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +0m 1.8s
5. Mads Ostberg
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +0m 2.1s
6. Kris Meeke
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC +0m 2.7s
7. Ott Tanak
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 2.9s
8. Robert Kubica
RK WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 3.8s
9. Dani Sordo
Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +0m 4.6s
10. Lorenzo Bertelli
Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 5.3s
11. Martin Prokop
Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 6.4s
12. Elfyn Evans
M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 06.5s
13. Benito Guerra Jr.
Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0m 08.6s
14. Yuriy Protasov
Ford Fiesta RRC +0m 08.8s
15. Jari Ketomaa
Ford Fiesta R5 +0m 12.3s
16. Nicolas Fuchs
Ford Fiesta R5 +0m 12.5s
17. Hayden Paddon
Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC 0m 13.8s
WRC2 standings after Stage 2 (Top 3):
1. Yuriy Protasov
Ford Fiesta RRC 4m 21.8s
2. Jari Ketomaa
Ford Fiesta R5 +0m 03.3s
3. Nicolas Fuchs
Ford Fiesta R5 +0m 03.7s
M denotes Manufacturer entry
all times unofficial