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LEÓN, Mexico: Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al Kuwari holds the lead in the World Rally Championship (WRC) 2 category after two stages at the Mexico Rally. The Qatari Ford driver reached León with an advantage of 5.6 seconds over Peruvian Nicolás Fuchs. Al Kuwari had also set the fastest time through the opening stage and held 14th overall.
Earlier, the Volkswagen Polo R WRC duo of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia held a tiny advantage of just three-tenths of a second in the 10th Rally Guanajuato Mexico after two short spectator stages in Guanajuato.
Norwegian Mads Østberg and Swedish co-driver Jonas Andersson (Ford) were second overall and the Belgian pairing of Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (Ford) slotted into third place at the overnight halt in León.
Neuville was quickest through the opening 1.05km Monster street stage around the narrow, slippery tarmac roads of Guanajuato, before Frenchman Ogier set the fastest time on the 2.60km sprint through Guanajuato’s Bicentennial Park.
Czech driver Martin Prokop overshot the flying finish boards in spectacular fashion and survived unscathed without losing time and Finn Jari-Matti Latvala had a minor problem on the start line with his starting system and endured a frustrating stall.
“That first one was a dangerous little stage,” admitted America’s Ken Block, who held 12th overall at the end of the evening. “I hit a kerb in it last year. No problems this time, but to see all those fans out there is amazing,” he said.
Ogier had set the target time of 4min 01.1sec through the qualifying stage but Østberg slipped inside the Frenchman’s time by just seven-tenths of a second. THE PENINSULA