Jari-Matti Latvala dropped out of the fight for Rally Mexico victory by breaking his Volkswagen Polo WRC’s suspension on Saturday’s second stage.
The Finn, who was just 13.5 seconds behind World Rally Championship leader and team-mate Sebastien Ogier after the day’s first stage, hit a bank halfway through the 26-mile Otates run. That hit to his Polo’s left-rear suspension meant that by the end of SS12 Latvala’s car had shed the wheel entirely, with the damage too severe for a spare wheel to be fitted for the final two stages before service.
Latvala lost more than six minutes to Ogier because of the incident and the VW team confirmed he would not continue, with his Polo being collected by a recovery truck. VW will inspect the car when it returns to service and assess whether he will resume on Sunday under Rally 2 rules.
“It happened on a fast right-hander,” Latvala explained at the end of the stage. “We a little bit wide, hit a bank, broke the rear suspension and lost the wheel.”
Latvala’s error leaves Ogier, who is seeking a hat-trick of victories at the start of 2015, almost one minute clear of Citroen’s Mads Ostberg and promotes the other Volkswagen of Andreas Mikkelsen to third overall.