Seven-times world champion Sebastien Loeb won the Rally of Mexico for the fifth year in a row on Sunday after overnight leader Sebastien Ogier crashed out on the first stage of the final day.
Finns Mikko Hirvonen, winner of the season-opening race in Sweden last month, and Jari-Matti Latvala were second and third respectively in the race in the state of Guanajuato.
Loeb moved into second place in the standings with 37 points, nine behind Hirvonen.
“It was a very difficult weekend, the fight with Ogier was fierce,” Loeb, who was one minute 38.40 seconds faster than Hirvonen at the finish in Leon, told reporters.
“We had an almost perfect weekend. I’m happy with the new car, it’s very fast,” added Loeb of the brand new Citroen DS3 car’s first victory.
Ogier went off the road 13 kms into the 20th stage and broke his front left wheel, handing the lead to fellow-Frenchman and Citroen team mate Loeb.
Loeb still had to recover a 50-second time penalty incurred on Saturday when he arrived late for the start of the 15th stage due to a gearbox problem.
Latvala, driving a Ford, took the day’s second stage for his second win of the race, while team mate Hirvonen won the closing Guanajuato power stage, also in a Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Fiesta.