LEON, Mexico: Five-time world champion Sebastien Ogier won the Rally of Mexico on Sunday (Mar 11) to retake the championship lead from Belgium's Thierry Neuville.
Ogier is now nine points clear at the top of the standings from Neuville, who finished sixth over the weekend, more than nine minutes down.
Spain's Dani Sordo came second, 1min 13sec behind, with Britain's Kris Meeke third in a Citroen.
Ogier had to work hard to claim his second victory of the season - he also won the Monte-Carly Rally in January - having flirted with disaster when avoiding a dead dog on Saturday.
"There was a dead dog, and another that seemed to be watching over him. I had to break sharply and ended up half in the ditch to avoid them," the Ford Fiesta driver recounted.
After securing his fourth victory in Mexico, he said: "Our chances were slim but we never gave up and it's a great performance.
Ogier took the lead after stage 14 on Saturday when his compatriot Sebastien Loeb saw his hopes deflated by a puncture. The ace from Alsace was forced to get out of his car to change the front left tyre.
Loeb, a nine-time former champion, is competing in three legs of the 2018 championship. He finished the weekend in fifth position.
Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen was fourth and is now third in the overall standings.