Dani Sordo leads Rally Mexico at the end of Friday’s action, with Sebastien Loeb running second in his first rally back in the World Rally Championship.
With no championship points so far in 2018, Sordo benefitted from his favourable running position of 10th, after retiring in his only appearance of the year in Monte-Carlo.
Loeb begins Saturday with only +7.2s to the Spaniard despite his five-year absence from Rally Mexico. The nine-times champion took his first stage win at the action-packed second running of El Chocolate, before going on to share the honours with Ott Tanak in the next stage.
All three Toyotas were plagued with engine problems in the hot, high altitude conditions, with Tanak managing the issues best to stand in third.
Kris Meeke sits in fourth after leading the day’s initial stage, but his choice to utilise hard front tyres proved counterproductive, leading to a number of spins and a tangle with a plant pot.
On top of his engine issues Esapekka Lappi complained of a lack of confidence in the morning’s slippery conditions before an off at El Chocolate 2 left him unable to complete the day’s running while team-mate Jari- Matti Latvala had his afternoon brought to a premature end with an alternator issue.
Teemu Suninen was another casualty of the action-packed second running of El Chocolate, sustaining significant enough panel damage after going into the barriers to have to sit out the remaining three stages.
Elfyn Evans’ weekend is also over after losing control over a bump and rolling into a rock face. With co-driver Daniel Barrett admitted to hospital with concussion, the pair will have to wait until Rally Corsica for more action.
Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier is in fifth, with Andreas Mikkelsen +1.5s behind in sixth.
Championship leader Thierry Neuville suffered from his position of first on the road and was further hindered by both fuel pressure and door issues on the Leon street stage as well as loss of power steering in El Chocolate 2. The Belgian holds on to seventh position.