Martin wins rally in distant Mexico

  • 2004-03-18
  • By TBT staff
TALLINN - Estonian racing ace Markko Martin of the World Rally Champ-ionship Ford team won the Rally Mexico held March 12 – 14 and now shares first place in the overall standings with Citroen's Sebastien Loeb.

Although Martin won only one out of 15 stages of the three-day Rally Mexico, he managed to avoid penalties and accidents.
Ford's Francois Duval lost by 42.5 seconds to Martin, and Carlos Sainz of the Citroen team, winner of the last two rallies in Cyprus and Turkey, came third. Subaru's Petter Solberg was fourth in the recently introduced Subaru Impreza WRC2004, followed by teammate Mikko Hirvonen and Peugeot's Marcus Gron-holm.
"It's a very different victory," Martin was reported as saying by, adding that this time luck was on his side.
"It is the first time I've benefited from other people's bad luck. It is maybe just the way to win this type of rally," he said.
Indeed, Loeb seemed to have a string of bad luck, as his car began leaking after it hit a rock on the road during the sixth stage. Sainz, meanwhile, almost rolled his car during the 13th stage.
Loeb had to quit the rally after his accident, and Sainz lost over a minute as a result of his setback.
It was the third WRC rally victory for 28-year-old Martin, who came first in Greece and Finland last year and thus secured himself the fifth place in WRC 2003.
The Ford Team used the Ford Focus WRC2003 at the Mexico Rally and announced it intends to use the new model – the WRC2004 – at the next rally, to be held in New Zealand April 16 – 18.
After the Mexico Rally, Ford is first in the team standings with 40 points, or 10 points ahead of Citroen and 19 ahead of Peugeot.