Ogier says WRC cars' Mexico overheating issues 'could be critical'
|By David Evans||Saturday, March 11th 2017, 13:08 GMT|
Reigning World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier says the overheating issues crews have experienced on Rally Mexico 'could be critical' on the second day of the Leon-based event.
Only rally leader Kris Meeke escaped without any kind of heat-related trouble after a near-perfect run on the 34.11-mile El Chocolate stage that kicked off Friday's running.
Elsewhere, the majority of cars all suffered engine warnings not far into the stage.
The first six miles of the test feature a number of twists, while the road also rises to its highest altitude of the whole event at 2746 metres.
Those factors combined left the cars short on power and showing dangerously high temperatures, with a number of crews running in road mode at some point on the stage.
Ogier currently occupies second, but while his M-Sport team is confident it has a fix ready for the weekend the Frenchman said temperatures on Saturday, which are expected to be higher, could pose more problems.
"More or less everybody had an engine temperature issue in the first stage," Ogier told Autosport.
"It was the same for us, we run most of the stage in 'safe' mode.
"I tried to be very soft on this section with the engine and not reach the critical point, but we ran with reduced power to save the engine.
"Tonight, I can't complain, to be second from second on the road is good. I am happy with the loop - I did all I could.
"What happened with the temperatures can happen with new cars when they are in a very hard situation.
"There's nothing to worry about, the engine should be fine, but we need to find the solution because today the weather was not necessarily super-hot.
"Tomorrow there are places where this could be critical."
M-Sport's head of rally engineering Chris Williams said the team had some solutions ready.
"The average speed in the first section of the El Chocolate stage is very low and at high altitude," said Williams.
"That's the worst [case scenario]. We're all finding our feet here, we've all done our calculations, but until the first stage on gravel, we didn't know anything.
"In that first stage, Seb got a warning in the car, but the other cars (Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak) got alarms.
"A warning is just that, warning you of something, but an alarm means you are in the critical area for the temperature.
"There are things we can do for tomorrow, things we have in our tool kit. It's not just mapping, we have started this rally looking to optimise aero over cooling was maybe not the right decision."