WRC and IRC champions triumph in Mexico and Brazil
8 March 2010

Sebastien Loeb and Kris Meeke emerged victorious from the two top-line rallies held over the weekend, Rally Mexico and Rallye Curtiba.

Loeb was a dominant winner in the world championship round in Mexico; he allowed Petter Solberg to take advantage of his lowly starting position on the opening day, as the Norwegian enjoyed roads swept clean of loose gravel by the top runners.

However, a stunning performance on the second day - with fastest times on every timed test - catapulted Loeb into a lead of almost a minute with only a few stages on Sunday remaining. He cruised to victory by almost half a minute, as Solberg held off Citroen junior Sebastien Ogier to claim second.

See the WRC and IRC weekend pics

"It's important to win here after Sweden," said Loeb. "It's only the start of the championship but I'm really happy. Now it's looking good."

Ford fared badly, as Swedish Rally winner Mikko Hirvonen struggled for pace in his Focus WRC. In the end, team orders were used to ensure the Finn finished fourth, ahead of his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

Ex-F1 star Kimi Raikkonen endured another difficult outing; he crashed out heavily on the first day.

In Brazil, meanwhile, Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Kris Meeke got his title defence back on track after his Monte Carlo crash. The Northern Irishman was always in control on the Rally Curtiba; he eased his Peugeot clear of fellow Briton Guy Wilks' Skoda on the opening morning and maintained a comfortable advantage thereafer to take his second successive victory on the event.

The next rounds of both series are the Rally Jordan (WRC, 1 April) and Argentina (IRC, 19 March).

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8 March 2010

I'm pleased to see Petter Solberg on the podium again.

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