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WRC - SS12: Ogier nets maiden win

Sordo wins battle to have penalty removed

11 March 2017 - 23h26, by www.wrc.com 

Sébastien Ogier scored his first gravel speed test victory for the M-Sport squad after topping the times during Saturday afternoon’s opener at Rally Guanajuato Mexico.

The Frenchman won Media Luna by 2.2sec from leader Kris Meeke, cutting the deficit to the Citroën C3 driver to 21.3sec. Having said earlier that today wasn’t an ‘all or nothing’ day, Ogier admitted there wasn’t much left in reserve here.

“I wouldn’t want to drive this one again like that. I did everything I could. A really clean drive, pretty much on the limit,” said the Ford Fiesta pilot.

Meeke was the only leading driver to fit four hard compound tyres. “I lost a tyre in shakedown with a puncture so I knew I would have to use the hard tyres. I had a lot more grip, but maybe I couldn’t make the time difference. Let’s see for the next stages,” he said.

Ott Tänak was third in his Ford Fiesta ahead of Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20 Coupe. But it wasn’t fourth fastest time that put a smile on Sordo’s face.

Stewards announced the 10-minute penalty handed to the Spaniard following his struggle through the two stages at Leon’s motor racing circuit last night had been removed.

He limped through the first head-to-head pass with a severe misfire. Tänak had almost caught him on the road and Sordo was red flagged before the finish for not completing the test ‘in the correct manner’.

He was initially refused the opportunity to start the second test before officials relented, but was later deemed to have retired and received a Rally 2 penalty.

Sordo regained almost 2min 15sec from the decision and bounced back onto the leaderboard in eighth, 47.6sec behind Jari-Matti Latvala.

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