Thierry Neuville ended Saturday’s running on Rally México by closing the gap right down on Elfyn Evans, in a battle for second that continued to unfold throughout the day in leader Sébastien Ogier’s wake.
The back to back superspecials to end the day began with a third pass of Las Dunas and before the Rock & Rally stage, which also ran on Friday afternoon as Distrito León Mx.
Las Dunas will feature one more time this weekend as it kicks off Sunday morning’s action.
Neuville – after chopping the gap to Evans to 5.9s on SS17 – was visibly unhappy on the next stage as he banged the steering wheel at the end and later revealed his car had developed a puncture.
But that anger might have been shortlived as he still took 1.1s out of the Toyota driver’s second place advantage.
The Hyundai driver then made up even more time on Saturday’s final run, going 0.5s quicker to sit just 4.3s off Evans heading into Sunday.
As for leader Ogier, it was a calm and steady push to the end of the day, losing a small handful of seconds to Evans on the penultimate stage, but he can afford that as he still holds a 35.8s lead going into Sunday.
A quiet day for Kalle Rovanperä ended with the Toyota driver in fourth and 53.9s off Neuville, with Dani Sordo 47.2s behind him.
Takamoto Katsuta hit a rock on the front-left which sent him into a spin on SS18 and was lucky to get away without any major damage, but he got through the next stage unscathed after a day used only for learning the Mexican routes.
Gus Greensmith holds a comfortable lead in WRC2 at the end of the second day as his rivals suffered a number of mishaps.
Adrien Fourmaux received a 10s penalty after checking in late to SS11, before he suffered a big scare on Saturday’s penultimate stage when he clipped a rock face and very nearly rolled.
The M-Sport driver sits in second and was the not the only driver to suffer a setback.
Emil Lindholm stopped briefly on Friday afternoon’s pass of Las Minas as Oliver Solberg suffered a tire delamination on the same stage which puts them third and fourth in-class.
However, Saturday was very much one of very little running for the Rally2 cars who faced delays and stage cancellations following Esapekka Lappi’s crash on the first pass of Derramadero.