Citroen's Sebastien Ogier managed to increase his lead slightly on the Super Specials this evening.

Ogier had to settle for third in the first run through the short 2.21 km test, conceding 0.5 seconds to his team-mate, Sebastien Loeb. However he won the repeat, SS10, and will now go into day two with a 2.3 second cushion. The stewards also elected to take no action after he made a mistake post-SS5 and went straight to service instead of the re-group. Although he realised his error and then went to the re-group there had been fears he might still be penalised.

"My strategy was simple. I had to push as hard as possible today," Ogier reflected. "Our fourth position on the road wasn't too bad but not ideal in that the other DS3 WRCs started just behind me. In these conditions, the fact that I've been quicker than Petter and Seb all day makes me very happy.

"It'll be a lot more difficult tomorrow as I have to open the road. I'm not in the best position to win the rally, but I don't have any other choice. I'm going to continue pushing as hard as I can."

"I couldn't really have hoped for much better on the first day," Loeb added. "My aim was not to be in the lead this evening. The situation soon became pretty clear where our rivals were concerned, and the rally quickly turned into a scrap with S?bastien.

"I think we were both going flat out and the next round looks interesting. We'll have to see how much sweeping influences things. With the new cars and the Michelin tyres I have the impression that the gaps are smaller than in the past. I can't wait for tomorrow!"

Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile is the lead Ford and is currently on course for the final place on the podium, albeit more than a minute off the fight for P1. The Finn is looking forward to day two though, as he will no longer have to sweep the roads.

"I'm in a good position and the shoe will be on the other foot tomorrow, because the guys ahead will have to sweep the gravel," Hirvonen stated. "I need to focus 100 per cent and attack hard to try to regain the time lost through the conditions. This morning the roads were slippery but things went better than I thought, and I lost less time than I did in the same situation last year.

"It was more difficult than I expected this afternoon because the roads were still slippery. I was cautious with the risks I took because I still lack experience of the car and Michelin's tyres on gravel.

"But the whole package feels really strong so early in the season. The car was good on this surface and was very agile in narrow, twisty sections. The high altitude meant less power and I couldn't carry speed through corners in the way I would like, but that was the same for everyone," he added.

Jari-Matti Latvala is next up, although he is a further 1.5 minutes back, having lost time with a puncture in SS4, followed by M-Sport Stobart men Evgeny Novikov and Henning Solberg.

"I never expected to be in this position at the end of the first day, I really didn't," said Novikov, who making his debut in the Fiesta RS WRC this weekend and who last competed in the WRC in 2009. "I had a small problem with the steering wheel but that was fixed at service but apart from that everything has been good.

"The car has been running very nicely and I am feeling very comfortable. I had no expectations before I started this rally - so many of the other drivers have been in Mexico many times before and this is my first time.

"This rally is about learning the car and finding a comfortable speed. I do not want to take any risks. It's been tough on the roads, it's easy to see how accidents can happen. I'm happy with my position but we've still got two very tough days to get through so I must not get too confident yet."

Denis Kuipers and SWRC runners Nasser Al-Attiyah, Ott Tanak and Martin Prokop round out the top ten, ahead of Mads Ostberg, Juho Hanninen and the luckless Petter Solberg, who lost more than 6 minutes in SS6 with a mechanical issue.

"This was not what we planned for this rally," Solberg noted. "And I'm so disappointed. Up until Alfaro 2 the car was working perfectly and everything was exactly as we planned. Now we have to aim for points in the Championship, and also use the rest of the rally to get to know the car even better."

Solberg was not the only driver to have problems though, and in addition to the punctures suffered by Latvala and Mads Ostberg, Federico Villagra lost a wheel in SS2 and retired after hitting a rock, while Matt Wilson and Ken Block were both stopped by electrical issues near the end of the day's second loop. Block had already had an electrical problem prior to Thursday nights super special, which cost him a ten second penalty.

"What can I say? It's been a really disappointing afternoon," said Wilson, who had been running in fourth prior to his issues in SS7. "The conditions were difficult before we retired - there were lots of loose stones on the road so we had to change our lines but everything was going well and the car set-up was good. Then on Stage 7 everything went wrong when the car stopped due to an electrical problem.

"We weren't sure what it was at first but the team are trying to sort it now. It's so frustrating after we'd worked our way up to fourth place and for this to happen. I don't know what else to say, I'm just hugely disappointed."

The action now continues on Saturday with almost 160 competitive kilometres on the bill - and nine separate stages. SS11, the 29.90 kilometre-run through Ibarrilla 1, begins at 08.54 hours local time [14.54 hours UK time].

Rally Mexico: Overall standings after Stage 10 / Day 1 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien OgierCitroen Total WRT DS3 WRC1hour 27mins 22.3secs M
2. Sebastien LoebCitroen Total WRT DS3 WRC+00mins 02.3secs M
3. Mikko HirvonenFord Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC+01mins 22.2secs M
4. Jari-Matti LatvalaFord Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC+02mins 53.6secs M
5. Evgeny NovikovM-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC+03mins 04.0secs A1
6. Henning SolbergM-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC+03mins 16.5secs M
7. Denis KuipersFERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRC+05mins 06.8secs M
8. Nasser Al-AttiyahFord Fiesta S2000+05mins 15.2secs S
9. Ott TanakFord Fiesta S2000+05mins 42.2secs S
10. Martin ProkopFord Fiesta S2000+06mins 07.8secs S


11. Mads OstbergM-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06mins 22.0secs M
12. Juho HanninenSkoda Fabia S2000+07mins 23.4secs S
13. Petter SolbergPSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC+07mins 36.0secs M
15. Matthew WilsonM-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC+17mins 57.2secs A1#
17. Ken BlockMonster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC+23mins 29.7secs#
21. Federico VillagraMunchis Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC+39mins 58.0secs M#

# assumes will re-start under SupeRally on day 2

SWRC standings after Stage 10 / Day 1 (Top 3):

1. Nasser Al-AttiyahFord Fiesta S20001hour 32mins 37.5secs S
2. Ott TanakFord Fiesta S2000+00mins 27.0secs S
3. Martin ProkopFord Fiesta S2000+00mins 52.6secs S

Notable retirements:

SS1. Ken BlockMonster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRCElectrical problem*

SS2. Federico VillagraMunchis Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRCLost a wheel M
SS7. Matthew WilsonM-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRCStopped in stage A1
SS8. Ken BlockMonster WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRCStopped in stage

* denotes re-started under SupeRally.

all times unofficial



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