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"Dangerous" WRC jump criticised after stage cancellation

"Dangerous" WRC jump criticised after stage cancellation
Co-author: Alasdair Lindsay
Mar 8, 2019, 10:28 AM

WRC crews were left fuming about a ‘dangerous’ jump in Thursday evening's opening stage of Rally Mexico, which had to be cancelled.

A jump was added near the end of the 1.14km-Guanajuato street stage, the severity of which threw the rear of the cars into the air.

Organisers called a halt to the stage with three cars still to run, meaning Ott Tanak (Toyota), Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) did not start.

The trio were given notional times equivalent to that set by Toyota's Kris Meeke, the last car through the stage, 0.6 seconds slower than the benchmark established by Citroen driver Esapekka Lappi.

One driver told “This is crazy. When does this stop? Why do we need these stupid, dangerous jumps?

"This is a great stage, one of the best for the atmosphere and the fans – it’s fantastic. Why do we need to make it more exciting? We don’t.”

The same jump will be used on the Leon street stage later in the event, but at a considerably lower speed.

The driver continued: “All the time it’s about jumps now. We see this big jump in Finland last year [the Laukaa arena jump] and now the organisers here in Mexico make the same thing in El Brinco.

"What’s going on? When does the FIA say this is enough? This is stupid and this is dangerous.

“Take a look at some of the footage of some of the cars, we take off, we fly and when we land it’s so close and anything can happen.”

Behind rally leader Lappi, Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen sits second with a time only 0.1s slower, followed by Meeke, M-Sport's Elfyn Evans and the three drivers awarded notional times.

Behind them, Teemu Suninen (M-Ford) is tied with Hyundai's Dani Sordo, who is making his first WRC appearance this year in place of Sebastien Loeb.

A furious Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota) ended up 10th fastest, aggrieved at a mix-up in his pace-notes.

Latvala and co-driver Miikka Antilla had marked the stage finish where the penultimate set of yellow marker boards were located, rather than the flying finish location a few metres further down the road.

SS1 results:

Pos. No. Driver/Co-driver Car Class Total Time Gap
1 4 Finland Esapekka Lappi 
Finland Janne Ferm 
Citroen RC1 1'00.6  
2 89 Norway Andreas Mikkelsen 
Norway Anders Jæger 
Hyundai RC1 1'00.7 0.1
3 11 Belgium Thierry Neuville 
Belgium Nicolas Gilsoul 
Hyundai RC1 1'01.2 0.6
4 33 United Kingdom Elfyn Evans 
United Kingdom Scott Martin 
Ford  RC1 1'01.2 0.6
5 8 Estonia Ott Tanak 
Estonia Martin Jarveoja 
Toyota RC1 1'01.2 0.6
6 5 United Kingdom Kris Meeke 
United Kingdom Sebastian Marshall 
Toyota RC1 1'01.2 0.6
7 1 France Sébastien Ogier 
France Julien Ingrassia 
Citroen  RC1 1'01.2 0.6
8 6 Spain Dani Sordo 
Spain Carlos del Barrio 
Hyundai RC1 1'02.1 1.5
9 3 Finland Teemu Suninen 
Finland Marko Salminen 
Ford RC1 1'02.1 1.5
10 10 Finland Jari-Matti Latvala 
Finland Miikka Anttila 
Toyota RC1 1'02.3 1.7
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About this article

Series WRC
Event Rally Mexico
Drivers Esapekka Lappi
Teams Citroën World Rally Team
Author David Evans