11 March 2007
Loeb gives C4 first gravel win in Mexico.
Although he easily passed the Spaniard on the final leg, and won two of the three proper tests, the spin on Duarte 2 left him unable to challenge for the runners-up spot.
Sordo eventually finished around 16 seconds back in his C4, however combined with the points' scored by Loeb, it allowed Citroen to nibble into Ford's lead in the manufacturers', albeit by just one point.
Dani's event was reasonably trouble-free and it was clear he was delighted to have left the winter events behind him. Indeed he set a number of good times and was in the top five on all of them bar two. He even managed to win the third run through the Super Special, which was held on Saturday, tied at the top with Manfred Stohl.
Chris Atkinson was next up in fifth place to give the new 2007 spec Impreza points on its debut. The Subaru driver was second at the end of day one, but dropped back on Saturday unable to hold off the BP Ford drivers and Sordo. His cause though wasn't helped by a technical problem in the afternoon, which affected the turbo boost.
His pace though in the Impreza was good and he set 11 times in the top five. That combined with the fact Petter was going so well before he had to retire on Friday, should give the Banbury-based operation at least a slight reason to smile.
Further-down the order, OMV Kronos' Manfred Stohl secured three points for sixth. The Austrian was on the whole unable to match the 'big boys' but he did finish top in terms of the semi-privateer efforts. The highlight for him came on day one, when he topped the times in Ortega 2. He will though no doubt be frustrated to have finished over 2 minutes off the final podium place.
Stobart trio, Jari-Matti Latvala, Matthew Wilson and Henning Solberg came in seventh, eighth and ninth respectively. Latvala put in a mature drive to lead home the Ford 'B' team members, while Matthew Wilson, despite several problems, secured the final drivers' point – the second in his short WRC career.
Henning trailed both, nearly two minutes off Wilson, after an error in the first proper stage on Friday, when he hit a rock and rolled. That incident cost him around 3.5 minutes and with it any chance of getting anywhere near emulating his Rally Norway podium. Although he made up ground on days two and three and recovered somewhat to take the final manufacturers' point - Wilson was in the third car and not nominated - he was too far back to do anything more.
Of the other works' drivers', Luis-Perez Companc and Juan Pablo Raies both made it to the end for the Munchi's Ford outfit. Companc finished 18th overall after he had to retire from the first leg in SS1 with suspension damage. He rejoined under the SupeRally on Saturday, but like Henning, was too far back to do much more.
Raies therefore took the better position out of the two Munchi's men, ending up 12th, despite being dogged by brake problems on and off throughout the three-days.
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