Tanak eventually finished 11.1 seconds back in fifth, while Nasser Al-Attiyah took sixth, albeit 1.5 minutes further adrift in his Qatar WRT-run Citroen DS3 WRC car.
Further back, Armindo Araujo claimed his best WRC result to date with seventh in his WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper WRC car: "I'm so happy to have finished in seventh here in Mexico! It's my best result to date in the WRC and now I can look forward to Rally de Portugal and try and do even better in three weeks time. After Mexico where the fans have been truly incredible, I can't wait to compete in front of my home crowd," he stated.
Sebastien Ogier was eighth in his VW Motorsport-run Skoda Fabia S2000, the first points of the season for the team, followed by Ken Block and Ricardo Trivino, who was the top local driver, and who claimed the final 'senior' WRC drivers' point.
In the PWRC, Benito Guerra dominated in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, and he lead from start-to-finish, excluding Thursday nights short super special. Nicolas Fuchs was second, 4 minutes adrift, while Michal Kosciuszko completed the PWRC podium.
In terms of retirements, the biggest scalp, as already mentioned was Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala. He wasn't the only major driver to retire though, as Evgeny Novikov and Chris Atkinson also failed to finish, and so too did Paulo Nobre and Kevin Abbring. Novikov and Atkinson had both been on course for pretty good results, but went out late on Saturday. Atkinson retired after the flying finish to SS16 due to brake problems, while Novikov lost a wheel in SS20. Despite opting to re-start today, neither survived SS22.
Thierry Neuville went out on Friday in SS6 after hitting a rock. He re-joined under the SupeRally and was classified in 13th.
The 2012 World Rally Championship now goes to Portugal next, with that event running from March 29-April 1.
To view the result for the 2012 Rally Mexico - CLICK HERE