It’s time for bizarre to make it’s way back in Rally Mexico – last year there were moving stones and even flying stones (one of which hit the car of Thierry Neuville, forcing organizers to cancel the stage) and this year someone thought it would be funny to close the gate for Sebastien Ogier. That’s right, ranch type gates were closed when Seb and co-driver Julien Ingrassia approached at full speed in second run over 42 kilometer Otates special stage. Co-driver had to get out of the car and open the gate.
When Ogier and Ingrassia reached the end of the stage, they were smiling in disbelief, but there was no usual Ogier-esque drama – there was no reason for it, because time lost in closed gate incident was in fact compensated because Mikko Hirvonen had a puncture on the same stage, losing fair bit of time to Ogier. Volkswagen crew was therefore reasonably tolerant to the gate incident, but it’s really silly, dangerous and should not be happening in a WRC class event. Sebastien offered effective solution: “Remove the gates when rally is on, problem solved”.
Good thing is, the prankster did not take it one step further by locking the gate.
Results wise, puncture on Otates stage brought Mikko Hirvonen within striking distance of Thierry Neuville – two drivers are just 7.2 seconds apart going into final two super specials of the day.