Sebastien Ogier has heaped praise on Kris Meeke's final stage recovery at Rally Mexico, having run off track and through a car park
, but is thrilled to leave the event with the WRC championship lead.
The M-Sport Ford driver looked set to be handed a second win in three rounds due to a rival's error, adding to Thierry Neuville's off while leading at Rallye Monte Carlo in January
, but Meeke weaved his way back on to the course via a car park to keep his lead on the Power stage and with it claim Citroen's first victory in the new regulations.
With Ogier settling for second, along with second place on the Power stage, he still wrestled back the WRC championship points lead from Toyota Gazoo Racing's Jari-Matti Latvala after the Finn could only manage sixth in Mexico.
“I'm really pleased with this result. Coming away from Mexico with 22 points is a great result for me and honestly I would have taken that before the rally,” Ogier said. “Opening the road on Friday, we knew that we would struggle in the loose conditions but I think we managed it pretty well.
“When the conditions become more even we were able to set the same pace as Kris but I must congratulate him also.
“He had a really strong drive and didn't give us the chance to make any inroads into his lead so it was a deserved victory for him.”
Ogier heads to his home nation event, Tour de Corse in Corsica, with an eight-point advantage over Latvala while M-Sport stretched its manufacturer's lead to 36 points over Toyota.
[Credit: Red Bull Media]