Sébastien Ogier has responded to Esapekka Lappi’s streak of Rally México stage wins with a victory on Ortega that closed the gap to the leader to just 0.3 seconds.
Lappi swept the morning stages on Friday and continued that form on the second pass of El Chocolate to extend his lead, but a string of slower splits on SS7 brought that streak to an end, with the stage win honors going to Ogier.
The thrilling battle for the lead has unfolded as the day has gone on, with the pair going tooth and nail to best each other.
The lead that Lappi had inched up to 2.2s on the first stage after service is now down to just a whisker.
Elfyn Evans now sits comfortably in third as Dani Sordo dropped down the order with a left rear puncture that cost him a minute and dropped him to sixth overall.
Thierry Neuville continued to gain an advantage over Kalle Rovanperä and the pair are now fourth and fifth – 10.1s apart – thanks to Sordo’s troubles.