The Saturday morning Rally Mexico stage was red-flagged to clean the debris after Esapekka Lappi crashed out of the lead.
Esapekka Lappi, who had been leading the rally on Friday and appeared to have Sébastien Ogier under control, crashed out of the lead of the Rally Mexico on the opening stage of Saturday morning.
the Hyundai driver lost control of his i20 N and plowed into a bank ten kilometers into the Ibarrilla test. The impact of the crash forced the car to flip around before hitting a telegraph pole in the back and coming to a stop in the middle of the road.
Lappi and his co-driver Janne Ferm were able to escape the severely damaged i20 N unharmed before smoke started to flow out the front of the car and a small fire started. The incident left the telegraph pole dangling precariously over the car.
Lappi and Ferm worked to put out the fire as the stage was abruptly called to a stoppage under red flag conditions.
Gus Greensmith, the WRC2 leader, arrived first on the site of the crash. He retrieved the fire extinguisher from their Toksport Skoda Fabia together with co-driver Jonas Andersson to assist in putting out the flames.
Lappi had declared Friday’s performance to be one of the greatest of his WRC career and was leading Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier by 5.3 seconds when the crash happened.
Ogier now has a 27.3-second lead over teammate Elfyn Evans in the Rally Mexico standings due to the incident.
Lappi was the final Rally1 vehicle to enter stage 11, which Ogier won as a result of the crash. Ogier beat Evans by 2.5 seconds, with Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville coming in third and 4.4 seconds behind them.
Ott TanaK set the fourth-fastest time after claiming that his M-Sport Ford Puma’s problems from Friday were finally fixed, albeit the Estonian was still having trouble with speed.
“It’s quite low grip. Yesterday afternoon’s issue seems to be fixed, but I can’t drive the car fast at the moment,” he explained.
“It’s not working for me and I am really struggling, but okay, we will try to learn.”
World champion Kalle Rovanpera is now in fourth place overall after Lappi’s withdrawal, while Neuville is in third.