Petter Solberg leads by 0.2 after stage 1 and survives a brush with a tunnel wall in Mexico as Ken Block hits trouble.
Stage 1 got underway after the ceroninial start, under the darkness through the streets of Guanajuato. Where 2003 world champion, Petter Solberg took the stage win, beating Loeb by just two-tenths of a second on the very short 1.05 kilometre street stage, Heading into Fridays Stages.
Solberg emerging through the short tricky city course in a time of 53.2 seconds. Although after nudging a wall in the tunnel section, the damage was restricted to a scuffed tyre and Solberg was able to make it to the finish line. “It was crazy in there with so many people, we had a moment in the tunnel but we’re okay,” said Solberg.
7 times World Champion Sebastien Loeb, and last year’s Rally Mexico winner said: “There was a great atmosphere, the stage was good and it was a very nice show.” Team mate Ogier finished 3rd 0.5 seconds off the lead.
Ford boys Jari-matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen finished 4th & 5th, over a second down from Solberg. “It’s a nice stage for the people but it was very slippery although not as difficult as I expected,” said Latvala. “The fans are such an important part of the sport and these people may not have the chance to go to the [gravel] stages so it’s good they can see the cars in their home city.”
However, there was despair for American Ken Block, whose Ford Fiesta RS WRC suffered an electrical failure in between crossing the ceremonial start ramp and taking the stage start. “There was some sort of electrical glitch,” said Block. “It happened first on the road section and it’s just got worse.”
Making a return to the WRC after a years absence, Evgeny Novikov Finished the evening stage in joint 7th with Brit Matthew Wilson. The real action starts Friday morning on the Gravel stages. With championship leader Mikko road sweeping after his win in Sweden.