Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have won Rally Mexico for a record-equalling sixth time. It was their first victory with the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team and with it they have taken the lead in the FIA World Rally Championship. Yet Ogier said that it was a strange victory, as he believed the event should not have taken place.

With an increasing sense of unease about how everyone travelling with the WRC were going to get home, with more and more countries closing their borders to help reduce the spread of the global coronavirus outbreak, Sunday’s final leg of Rally Mexico was cancelled. The race for bonus points on the Power Stage was replaced by a race to the airport.

For the record, Ogier dominated proceedings after taking the lead on Friday’s second stage. He led by 13.2 seconds coming into Saturday, and immediately extended that advantage with a stunning stage win on SS13 Guanajuatito. His final winning margin was 27.8 seconds. It was his sixth Rally Mexico win in eight years – behind the wheel of four different cars – and he knocks team-mate Elfyn Evans (who finished a strong fourth with co-driver Scott Martin after running first on the loose gravel roads on Friday) off the top of the drivers’ leaderboard.

But Ogier wasn’t in the mood for celebrating and didn’t hold back on Twitter, saying that: “if we put the fans here in danger this victory has no value.”

He was pretty forthright at the post-event press conference too. His is what he had to say.

Sébastien, a win here but a win under very different circumstances. It’s been a challenge out there this weekend. I know how you have certain emotions about competing here. How are you feeling?
“For sure, we would have preferred to celebrate our first win with Toyota in a different context and actually really celebrate it because today is definitely a strange victory. I didn’t want to race basically. I have been convinced to do it and I have done my job but, for me, protecting human life should go first. I hope we didn’t bring any harm here to our friends in México. We had a lot of support, like always here. But with all the fans here, to not give them autographs, not give them pictures, they didn’t really understand… I was trying to do my best to respect what everyone in the world is trying to do at the moment. That’s the way it is but still I think we have done a good rally, two good days without any mistakes. Mexico is a big challenge every time and we have some good points for the championship today.”

Six victories with four different manufacturers. How did you get your mind into it? We have seen some great pace from you this weekend.
“Honestly, I think some people have seen that, on Thursday, I was not feeling really good. Every day the situation in the world is changing. I had some news on Wednesday night and I didn’t sleep and then, on Thursday, I was really fighting myself to be there. I was not really doing the job I should do. Then I told myself, okay we do the rally and we really do it, or not. I shouldn’t stay in this between because that won’t bring anything. So I am glad. I felt much better on Friday and the car was perfect all weekend. We did not have any problems and we took the victory. One more time, Julien and myself felt good here in Mexico. We definitely have a special connection with this place.”

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia wear Stilo WRC DES Zero helmets.

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Mexico, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Yaris WRC