22 nationalities in Rally Mexico
19/02/2012 · 03:01 pm 4 comments
- A record 16 World Rally Cars lead the charge
- Francisco Name and Ricardo Triviño step up
- Benito Guerra begins his PWRC campaign
Rally Guanajuato Mexico is only weeks away, and 30 crews have entered the event. 16 of those are World Rally Cars, a number not seen since the 2005 edition.
Among the 22 nationalities that will fight it out in the mountains of Guanajuato, there are three Mexicans looking to write their names in the history books. Francisco 'Pancho' Name will take the wheel of the iconic #53 MINI John Cooper Works WRC, and Ricardo Triviño will drive a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Benito Guerra, who made his splash on the world stage in 2011 with strong performances in the Production class, begins his assault on the PWRC in Mexico.
At the top of the list, the reference will be set by the most succesfull driver in the history of our sport, Sébastien Loeb, in his Citroën DS3 RS. His shiny new team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, flies to Mexico with a smile on his face, having achieved a podium finish in Sweden, his first with Citroën. Both crews will no doubt be going for maximum honours on the Mexican roads.
Not to be outdone, arch-rivals Ford have made their intentions clear by fielding no less than nine Ford Fiesta RS WRCs for the North American event, to be held from the 8th to 11th of March. The Blue Oval is led by Jari-Matti Latvala, seemingly at ease with his new role as the team's number one driver, as he won in a convincing manner in Sweden. Norweigan and perennial favourite Petter Solberg, rejoins his old team and is quickly setting into his new car, currently holding third in the Championship.
Rounding out the top 16 are a flurry of private teams. M-Sport are bringing Ott Tanak from Estonia and Evgeny Novikov from Russia. Both have proved they have the speed to challenge more established drivers, but their consistency is still being looked at by those who know. Adapta World Rally Team will support rising star Mads Ostberg, and Henning Solberg is running with his own team.
Monster World Rally Team is deploying two cars. As per tradition, Ken Block will drive number 43, and the second car brings a welcome surprise in Australian Chris Atkinson. Atko will drive his first WRC event since Ireland in 2009. His last outing in Mexico took place in 2008, where he climbed onto the second step of the podium.
2008 was also the last year that Rally Mexico hosted three Manufacturers. In this edition, we welcome Citroën, Ford and newcomer MINI, who will be represented by WRC Team Mini Portugal. Armindo Araújo and Service Park celebrity Paulo Nobre will drive their two John Cooper Works WRC.
Volkswagen is yet to debut its Polo R WRC, which is set to take the Championship by storm in 2013, and will take the start with Frenchman Sébastien Ogier and Dutchman Kevin Abbring in a pair of Skoda Fabia S2000s.