WRC returns to gravel for round three
WRC heads from the scenes of Swedish snow to the might of Mexican gravel! Next week our team will travel to Central America for the third round of the World Rally Championship, Rally México.
Our crews of Thierry and Martijn, Esapekka and Janne, and Dani and Cándido will be navigating the gruelling 320.71km course in a bid to ascend to the top step of the podium.
“This year will offer a different challenge, as this is the first time the new hybrid units will run at Rally México, so we have an opportunity to find a competitive edge with our set-up,” said our Team Principal Cyril.
Exchanging a Corona for a crown
The first gravel event of the season holds a lot of fond memories for us, as it is where we secured our debut WRC podium in 2014 – which we were only able to achieve after Thierry used his celebratory bottle of Corona as coolant! This enabled him to get back to the service park safely despite a radiator leak in his car.
The scorching heat of the Mexican sun have always created a punishing environment for the crews and cars. With temperatures expected to rise to around 30°C, this year will be no different.
Reaching dizzying heights
Thierry and Martijn have their sights set on success, looking to maintain their 100% podium finishes of the season so far. “It will be challenging for a number of reasons: it is the first gravel event of the year, it will be hot, and the high altitude is tough on the cars,” explained Thierry.
Our Finns, Esapekka and Janne, will continue to push their potential with the experience they have gained so far this season. “Our road position of sixth should be an advantage,’ revealed Esapekka. “There should be some cleaner lines after the first cars have cleared the way.”
Dani and Cándido’s return for their second event of the season after competing on the tarmac and snow of Rallye Monte-Carlo. “If we get it right, we believe we can be in the battle for victory, but we want to be on the podium as a minimum,” said Dani.
The cars can reach altitudes of 2,700 metres – over three times the height of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – putting an undoubted strain on our i20 N Rally1 Hybrid.
Yet our crews and Cyril are certain of a strong weekend. “The drivers are feeling confident, as am I, so we should be able to target our first victory in Mexico,” concluded Cyril.
Rally México will take place on March 16-19.