This year’s Rally México was full of drama at every turn. There were sensational drives, big crashes and the odd mechanical failure to go with it.
Of course, with all of that, there were plenty of winners and losers and DirtFish writers Rob Hansford and Adam Proud have been given the task of determining who fits where.
And naturally, it’s up to you to debate their opinions in the comments section below.
Here’s what they came up with:
Whatever way you look at this weekend, Sébastien Ogier was a winner in every aspect as he took a record number of Rally México victories.
He couldn’t get the better of Esapekka Lappi on Friday, but kept the pressure on and ultimately that paid off for him.
From then on, he used his road position and limitless skill to just cruise to the finish – albeit with an incredible run on SS16 – as the battle between Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville unfolded behind him.
It’s not a full-time season for Ogier in 2023, but he’s got a 100% win record on the two rallies he’s contested so far.
You’ve got to wonder just how the championship would look come the end of Rally Japan if he was around the entire year…
Coming into Mexico, it was hard to know what to expect from Evans. He was off the pace Sweden but showed promising speed in Monte Carlo.
But Mexico felt like something of a breakthrough.
Stuck in a rally long battle with Thierry Neuville, Evans didn’t wobble. He kept everything together, but just couldn’t hold onto second which was snatched away from him on the final stage.
He might have missed out on the runners-up spot, and might not have matched the pace of Ogier, but nobody did. What he did do though was bring the car home safely, while bagging a huge haul of points and that can only help his confidence going into Croatia.
This was a brilliant rally for Gus Greensmith. Making his first WRC2 start of the year, Greensmith was stepping into the unknown somewhat in his Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, but he never put a foot wrong. While others around him ran into issues and dropped time, Greensmith kept his nose clean.
It was a fully deserved WRC2 victory and will just reinforce the feeling that he hadn’t lost his talent while driving at the top level.
He just needed to get himself back into a more comfortable environment, and one where the pressure was released somewhat. Either way, it’s a great platform to build on for the remainder of the year.
Oh Esapekka Lappi, what could have been! For the second time in two rallies, a crash ended any hopes of a strong finishing position, but this time it was all his own doing.
In Sweden, a delaminated tire caused him to make contact with a snowbank, but in Mexico, it was pressure. Ogier was coming at him so fast and he was determined to hang on, but it resulted in him taking one corner too fast and then paying a massive price for it.
But it’s not completely back to square one though. He should at least take confidence in the fact he’s really at home in the Hyundai i20 N Rally1. He just needs to finish without a problem.
Two stage wins on Thursday evening was as good as it got for the M-Sport camp, as from then on the weekend just continued to unravel.
All three of its Rally1 cars were struck by trouble on the first stage of Friday morning, which saw Ott Tänak creep his way to midday service with a turbo failure, as Pierre-Louis Loubet and Jourdan Serderidis both retired.
A stage win on Saturday evening will have brought some slight consolation to Tänak, but throughout the weekend he was complaining about gremlins in his Puma Rally1.
As for Loubet? His first outing on Rally México couldn’t have gone any worse with that Friday morning damage, which was then followed by an early retirement once again on Saturday with damage to the rear-right tire.
From a win on Rally Sweden to this weekend, it’s been a rather violent crash back down to earth for the Dovenby Hall-based outfit.
You can’t really fault Solberg’s drive too much, especially on the final couple of days. And that drive on SS21 was sublime, to beat Emil Lindholm by 26.6s. So I can hear you thinking why is he a loser from Mexico?
Well, it’s another case of what might have been.
A puncture on SS8 cost Solberg over a minute, dumping him immediately out of the lead battle, and although he drove impeccably from there on in it wasn’t enough to walk away with a victory that would have otherwise had his name on it.
And in a WRC2 season where you’ve laid your stake in the ground that you are gunning for the title, plus the fact that it’s one of the most competitive WRC2 seasons for some years, you can’t afford for what might have been moments.
There was no faulting his level of driving, but he really needs lady luck to be on his side going forward. Otherwise, he can kiss goodbye to the WRC2 title pretty quickly.
Back to competing without the pressure of needing to win manufacturer points, Takamoto Katsuta needed some kind of revival after he crashed in Sweden last time out.
That, however, wasn’t the case. A big crash on Friday morning which sent him down a bank was not the 30th birthday he’d have been hoping for.
With the pressure of being nominated to score those manufacturer points and heading to México for the first time in his career, Katsuta needed a straightforward and trouble-free weekend just to learn what is a tricky set of stages.
But that didn’t happen for him, missing a good chunk of running on Friday afternoon. There’s no doubt Katsuta will be ruing his mistake which put him out early on in the weekend.