It was business as usual for both Volkswagen Motorsport drivers in Mexico. Sebastien Ogier pushed hard and made the best of the not so perfect starting position, while Jari-Matti Latvala successfully tried to break some records for shortest stage ever driven. While he did not roll in the first corner, his rally lasted only for a few hundred meters on first stage of the day. Then, Latvala’s Polo R WRC had a close encounter with some stray rock, innocently sitting on the racing line.
Here’s what both drivers said about the eventful day 1 of Rally Mexico.
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7
“That was the shortest stage I have ever driven. The dust from the previous car was still in the air, so vision was not great. 300 metres after the start we were rounding a right-hander when we came across a stone the size of a melon right on the racing line. As it was not possible to avoid the stone at the speed we were travelling, I tried to position it centrally between the two front wheels and line it up as well as possible with the underride protection. The impact was not particularly strong, but the stone damaged the right wishbone. It was just unlucky. The rock had probably been pulled out onto the road by one of the cars in front of us. We were obviously very disappointed at first, but I hope that is the end of my run of bad luck. I will start again tomorrow and, as a result of the big time penalty, will view the rally as a test and an opportunity to gain more experience in the Polo R WRC.”
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8
“I am obviously very happy with today’s result. The special stages were not easy, with a lot of stones, loose gravel and little grip. The 30 kilometres on ‘El Chocolate’, in particular, were extremely demanding. That made it all the more pleasing that we had built up a small cushion by then. Everyone in the team is delighted that the Polo R WRC appears also to be quick on gravel. However, we have to bear in mind that there is still a very long way to go at this rally, and the toughest stages are still ahead of us.”