Rally Mexico: Solberg takes early lead after SS1
- 9th March 2012, 2:24pm
Roared on by thousands of passionate fans, the Ford ace completed the 1.05-kilometre course in a time of 53.7s, which was 0.4s faster than eight-time world champion Sebastien Loeb. Mads Ostberg was third quickest for the Adapta squad with Loeb’s Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen fourth.
“It was very, very difficult I must say because it was slippery in some places,” said Solberg, the winner in Mexico in 2005. “I had a good feeling in there with no crazy attacking. This means a lot to me and the whole team.”
Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tanak shared the fifth fastest time with Ford driver Latvala reporting a “little mistake” in the middle of the stage.
Ken Block completed the run with damaged front-left bodywork after he nudged a kerb with his Monster World Rally Team Fiesta. “I didn’t realise how slippery it would be in the tunnel,” said the American. “There was no grip and I hit with the front. It wasn’t what I wanted but it’s not so bad.”
Block’s team-mate Chris Atkinson opted for a cautious approach due to the slippery nature of Guanajuato’s cobbled streets. However, he managed to go 5.3s faster than Block and set the seventh best time on his return to the WRC.
Thierry Neuville admitted to running wide on the first right-hand bend in his Citroen Junior World Rally Team entry but he survived to set the ninth quickest time.
Armindo Araujo was the first driver to tackle the stage in his WRC Team MINI Portugal John Cooper Works WRC, which is still being hampered by the electronic fault that slowed him during Thursday morning’s Qualifying Stage. Evgeny Novikov said he lost time with an intercom problem in his M-Sport Fiesta.
Crews are now heading back to Leon for the overnight halt. Friday’s opening stage gets underway at 08:08hrs local time.
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