Jari-Matti Latvala made full use of his preferential position on the running order for the Rally Mexico as he was swept into the fastest time on the morning loop of the second day.
Having failed to finish the opening two events, the Finn was always tipped to benefit from having the road swept for him by cars subsequently starting ahead of him on the running order, Latvala duly taking advantage to go quickest by 21secs on SS4 and then three seconds on SS5.
Though slightly slower on SS6, Latvala still heads into the second half of the day protecting a solid 21secs lead over team-mate Sebastien Ogier, who nonetheless consolidated his position remarkably well despite being first on the road, the defending champion keeping himself poised for when his running order improves.
Dani Sordo holds third on an otherwise frustrating day for Hyundai after Thierry Neuville – who was as fast as Latvala on SS4 – hit a bank, breaking his suspension and forcing him to retire. First Hyundai on the road, Hayden Paddon is currently running sixth, behind Andreas Mikkelsen, who was quickest in the short Leon SS6 test, and Mads Ostberg.
Ott Tanak is running seventh in the DMACK-shod Ford Fiesta, ahead of WRC returnee Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli. Meanwhile, Eric Camilli suffered a time sapping puncture on SS4, dropping him six minutes and placing him just outside the top ten.
In the WRC2 class, Peruvian driver Nicolas Fuchs pushed on to the top of the class by the end of SS6, leading a Skoda 1-2-3 ahead of Teemu Suninen and Armin Kremer.