65 crews decided to stand next to Rally Mexico start line and tackle 9 special stages of first leg. The rally beginning was in Guanajuato streets at the very late evening and 8 more special stages in the morning with 5 gravel ones and 3 more shows on tarmac.
With no surprise first leg was most successful to Russian Rocket Anton Kochetkov. After winning shakedown session he gained 1st position in SS3 due to his countryman Alex Karckach mistake where he lost over 20 seconds. For Anton it also wasn't an easy walk on first leg. He tried to push all day and after service "Citroën C3 WRC" piloted by Russian had some fence kissing and field plowing adventures while running El Chocolate and Ortega stages second time. Amazingly this didn't stop Anton from winning those stages. Moreover Anton drove with no rear diff in last stage of the and lost some more time, but still finishing first with 26.20 seconds advantage on nearest opponent.
Second place holder changed five times between Alex Karkach and Juan Marzoa. This position was flipping between them after each stage from SS3 till SS8. But finally Spaniard managed to win this race fro 2nd place and has a tiny 8.02sec advantage on Alex who left in 3rd place. "First time at night here, very good leg for me, nice stage. Thanks!",- said Juan. Impressively all the stages of the first leg was won by these three guys. Juan made it 4 times, Anton 3 and Alex won 2 stages.
WRC 2 leader and 4th place holder in overall Tomek Wach is just 30 seconds from Alex Karkach in 3rd place. So it's really possible to see "Škoda Fabia R5" on podium between big boys again,- "Some big moments on the 2nd stage but generally good day, not pushing hard, everything OK so far." Tomek is quite safe in his first place because nearest opponent Jyrki Niemela is almost one minute away from him. But we can't say so about Jyrki, because Spaniard Echedei Benitez is showing very similar driving pace and sits in 3rd place just 5,46sec after Jyrki.
Loose gravel surface is probably first hardest test for WRC 3 competitors this season. It's not a secret what two wheel drive cars is slower here on gravel than they were on Monte-Carlo asphalt or Sweden's ice roads. Nevertheless Oscar Estévez is showing that there is no hard events for him this season so far. After winning first two rallies he is also leading in Mexico. Oscar and his "Renault" is 14th overall and "punishing" his closest 2WD opponent almost a minute and all this on bad day, here is what Oscar said after first leg,- "Bad first day for me. See you tomorrow. Thanks and good luck all!". Rafal Majka "Honda Civic Type R R3" is 2nd (+57.86 sec), Mariusz Domanus "Peugeot 208 R2" is 3rd (+3min 58.78sec).
Almost a half rally is done, 9 more special stages is waiting in leg two and 3 more in leg three. Just 33 drivers finished first leg without Super Rally. We will see how many survivors in this challenging rally will be after second leg.