Kris Meeke survived an excursion into a car park on the final stage of Rally Mexico to give Citroen its first WRC victory of the year.

The Northern Irishman had built up a gap of over 40s, but that looked to be in jeopardy when he went off the road during the Power Stage.

He had to manoeuvre past parked cars before getting back on the road to claim the win in the most dramatic of finishes.

Such was his shock, Meeke couldn’t climb onto the roof of the car at the end of the stage to celebrate, and had to be helped by co-driver Paul Nagle.

The Northern Irishman was only eighth after Thursday’s opening super special, but took the lead as soon as the action, curtailed by the cancellation of two stages in the morning, was underway on Friday.

While M-Sport, Hyundai and Toyota all struggled on the opening day’s action with varying powerplant issues, Meeke sailed through relatively unscathed.

A spin at a key moment for a second consecutive event meant Sebastien Ogier couldn’t challenge for the victory.

The Frenchman spun on Saturday afternoon when the lead margin had been just over 20s. His mistake cost him another 10s and the lead fight was over, but he held on to second to retake the championship lead and extend M-Sport’s lead in the manufacturers standings.

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Thierry Neuville was left reeling from the fuel filter issue that plagued Friday, but at least made it to Sunday unscathed for the first time this year, having crashed on Saturday on the first two rounds.

He took third and five points for winning the Power Stage.

Ott Tanak finished outside of the podium for the first time in 2017. He headed Hayden Paddon who, like Tanak, had dispatched the Toyota of Juho Hanninen on Saturday afternoon.

Jari-Matti Latvala took sixth, losing over two minutes due to having to sweep the road with engine troubles on Friday and also eventually the championship lead.

Latvala’s Toyota teammate Juho Hanninen took seventh despite suffering from illness all weekend, with Dani Sordo taking eighth.

The Spaniard had a rollercoaster event. He suffered the fuel filter issues which plagued his team-mates, but was also given a 10-minute penalty for not finishing Friday’s super special which was later overturned.

Elfyn Evans took ninth, competing on the event with a five-minute penalty for a pre-event engine change. However, the Welshman did score another fastest stage time in his DMACK-run M-Sport Fiesta.

The titanic battle for WRC2 honours was decided on the penultimate stage as M-Sport and Skoda works drivers Eric Camilli and Pontus Tidemand duelled for the win respectively.

Camilli had unseated the Rally Sweden winner on Saturday after taking chunks of time, including 20s alone on the first stage of the morning.

However on the penultimate stage of the day Tidemand took the lead back with a rapid time, combined with Camilli gambling on a wet set-up for rain which never arrived. The Swede secured 10th overall and the win. 

Final results:

Pos. Driver/Codriver Car Time/Gap
1 united_kingdom Kris Meeke 
ireland Paul Nagle 
Citroen C3 WRC 3h22m04.6s
2 france Sébastien Ogier 
france Julien Ingrassia 
Ford Fiesta WRC '17 13.8s
3 belgium Thierry Neuville 
belgium Nicolas Gilsoul 
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 59.7s
4 estonia Ott Tanak 
estonia Martin Jarveoja 
Ford Fiesta WRC '17 2m18.3s
5 new_zealand Hayden Paddon 
new_zealand John Kennard 
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 3m32.9s
6 finland Jari-Matti Latvala 
finland Miikka Anttila 
Toyota Yaris WRC 4m40.3s
7 finland Juho Hanninen 
finland Kaj Lindstrom 
Toyota Yaris WRC 5m06.2s
8

 Dani Sordo

 Marc Marti

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 5m22.7s
9

united_kingdom Elfyn Evans 
united_kingdom Daniel Barritt

Ford Fiesta WRC '17 8m41.8s
10

sweden Pontus Tidemand

sweden Jonas Andersson

Skoda Fabia R5 10m51.9s

Standings after Rally Mexico:

Pos. Driver Team Pts
1 france Sebastien Ogier M-Sport Ford 66 pt
2 finland Jari-Matti Latvala Toyota 58 pt
3 estonia Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford 48 pt
4   Dani Sordo Hyundai 30 pt
5 belgium Thierry Neuville Hyundai 28 pt
6 united_kingdom Kris Meeke Citroen 27 pt
7 ireland Craig Breen Citroen 20 pt
8 united_kingdom Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford 20 pt
9 new_zealand Hayden Paddon Hyundai 17 pt
10 france Stephane Lefebvre Citroen 10 pt
Source: Motorsport.com