Rally News

Lappi stars to lead Ogier after eventful Friday

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Lappi lit up the timing screens across the afternoon’s stages, winning three of the five tests, to turn a 1.4s margin into a 5.3s advantage over the six-time Rally Mexico winner, Ogier.

Ogier managed to close to within 0.3s early in the afternoon before Lappi reeled off a string times to pull clear of the eight-time world champion, before a mini fightback on the last stage.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans ended the day in third, albeit 30.1s adrift after struggling to match the pace of Lappi and Ogier. Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville completed the loop in fourth, 9.7s behind Evans.

World champion Kalle Rovanpera, who was effectively the road sweeper for much of the day, limited the damage to hold fifth, 59.7s in arrears.

A puncture late in the afternoon dropped Hyundai’s Dani Sordo from fourth to sixth, while championship leader Ott Tanak heads into Saturday outside of the points after recovering from a turbo failure on stage 3.

M-Sport duo Pierre-Louis Loubet and Jourdan Serderidis, and Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta retired after crashes during the morning loop.

The afternoon began with a second pass of the El Chocolate (29.07km) test, and unlike the morning Tanak was able to pass through the stage at rally speed after his M-Sport squad managed to fix the turbo failure that blighted his morning.

However, starting first on the road, the Estonian struggled for outright pace, ending the test 29.0s behind the stage winner.

“The turbo is fine now but it was a big job,” said Tanak. “There was quite a bit of cleaning here but generally I have no feeling at all. It’s tricky.”

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

It was rally leader Lappi that starred to claim his third stage win of the rally. The Finn, armed with hard tyres, managed to edge Ogier, also on hards, by 0.8s.

The top two were in a league of their own as Evans emerged as the best of the rest ahead of Sordo, Neuville and Rovanpera, some 7.6s adrift of Lappi’s pace.

Ogier issued a response on stage 7 by slashing Lappi’s overall lead to 0.3s after winning the second pass through Ortega. The stage underwent a small change from the morning loop as officials removed a compression that almost caught out Neuville and Rovanpera on the first pass.

Lappi dropped 1.9s to Ogier in the stage but managed to hang onto to his slender advantage. Evans again was third fastest to extend his margin over Neuville and…

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