29 Feb 08
SS9/12, Ibarilla, 29.98km
This is a tough way to start the second day. It's quite similar in some ways to SS1 but drivers have to be a little more careful and accurate with the positioning of the car, it's narrower generally and there are several gate posts and culverts we have to squeeze between. This stage should have more water splashes than it actually does, but the dry and hot weather means they've mostly all dried up - or at least become very shallow. This stage includes one super fast section and we'll be absolutely flat out in sixth gear for a long time. The altitude limits the top speed a little here, but we'll still be doing about 175kph.
SS10/13 Duarte, 23.27km
The character of this stage is very inconsistent; it starts rough and very tight - probably the tightest of the whole event - then it speeds up a bit and then goes twisty again. And it's like that pretty much all the way through; A little bit of everything from hairpins to flat out sections. On the repeat run as SS13 I expect this stage will be one of the hardest on the tyres.
SS11/14, Derramadero, 23.28km
This is generally a fast stage, but again there are a number of slower, technical sections thrown in too. One good example is a flat out part between about 15km and 19km, which ends with a huge jump. It's very difficult to judge the braking correctly there, but 10kph wrong either way and you're either going to lose time or damage the car. It's a good place to spectate though - we do the jump twice on Saturday and once again on Sunday.
SS17, Leon, 16.09km
We start off on familiar territory; the first six kilometres are the same as stage number one, but then we turn a tight hairpin left and into a very narrow and twisty section which is a lot more technical and a very easy place to break the car. There are rocks everywhere and the road snakes left, right, left, right so you have to be careful. It's quite like Rally Sardinia in places. The last section is part of SS9/12, so it could either be very clean or have lots of rocks on corners which have been cut.
SS18, Guanajuatito, 22.30km
The penultimate countryside stage begins very fast; it's the same piece of road that we used on day two as SS9 but run in the opposite direction. To begin with there are lots of cattle grids and tight gateways to negotiate. After about 3km we go over some jumps and into a tricky section and at the 7km mark there are some hairpins and some surface changes. From the 11km point onwards there's a lot more gravel on the road. It's a nice stage.
SS19, Comanjilla, 17.88km
The first half is fast but was especially slippery on the recce because there's so much thick dust on the road, so the first cars through could struggle for grip. Then we turn a hairpin right and join the Derramadero stage with the big jump. This section could be in poor condition following the two passes the day before. Comanjilla is the final gravel stage of this rally but it's no gentle wind down. Of course we still have one more Superspecial to go, but if we get through this one cleanly I'll be very happy.