LEÓN, Mexico: Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala clinched his maiden Rally of Mexico title on Sunday (Monday in Manila) as well as his first points of the season, finishing ahead of Volkswagen team-mate and world champion Sebastien Ogier.
Latvala had gone pointless in the season’s first two rounds in Monte Carlo and Sweden, which were won by Ogier, but he dominated in Mexico, winning 11 of the 21 stages.
Ogier finished one minute and five seconds behind with Spain’s Dani Sordo in a Hyundai finishing third, more than two and a half minutes off the pace.
“It’s a superb feeling. The start of this year’s championship was so complicated that I didn’t feel well mentally,” said Latvala. “So it’s even more welcome that I can win this race where I have rarely shone.”
Ogier had virtually surrendered victory on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), claiming that he and his team-mate were taking part in different events.
The Frenchman’s frustration wasn’t helped by having to start stages from the front of the pack and, as a result, acting as a “sweeper” on the Mexican race’s notoriously dusty tracks.
“It was a very good rally as I have said already. I couldn’t have done better,” said Ogier.
The triple world champion still leads the standings with 77 points with Norwegian duo Mads Ostberg (39 points) and Andreas Mikkelsen (33) in second and third respectively.