Sebastien Ogier has reclaimed the 2018 World Rally Championship lead with a comfortable victory at Rally Mexico while Kris Meeke threw away second place after crashing on the opening stage of the final day.

Ogier was able to fortify his healthy lead at the start of Sunday’s running when Citroen’s Meeke tipped his C3 on to its side on SS20 but after a short stop he was helped back on to all four wheels by local fans to see him complete the stage.

But with over 40 seconds lost the damage was done as Hyundai’s Dani Sordo leapfrogged him into second place while Ogier escaped clear of the pair. The defending WRC champion also clinched an impressive second place on the Power Stage SS22 Las Minas 2 to take back the championship lead from Thierry Neuville who led since victory at Rally Sweden.

Despite a painful puncture on the Power Stage, Sordo held on to second place for Hyundai by 15.6s from Meeke with Sordo’s teammate Andreas Mikkelsen claiming a solid fourth place just under 20s back.

After semi-retiring from WRC Sebastien Loeb’s comeback for Citroen saw him finish in fifth place having briefly led the classification at the start of the leg 1 but he remained comfortably ahead of Neuville in a distant sixth place.

The WRC2 class was dominated by Pontus Tidemand for Skoda in Mexico as the Swedish driver even beat premier class contender Jari-Matti Latvala in the Toyota. Gus Greensmith and Pedro Heller (both WRC2 Ford drivers) claimed their first top class WRC points finishes in ninth and tenth respectively.

Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi and M-Sport Ford’s Teemu Suninen both narrowly missed out on a points recovery from earlier issues at Rally Mexico in 11th and 12th respectively while Ott Tanak, the Power Stage winner, came home in 14th place over an hour off overall winner Ogier.