Victory for Sebastien Loeb would make it six wins in Mexico for the Citroen Total World Rally Team star. And a maximum haul of points would be the perfect fillip for the eight-time world champion following his troubles on Rally Sweden when he could only muster sixth overall following an off.
Mikko Hirvonen moved to within seven points of team-mate Loeb with his second-place finish in Sweden. While the Finn has never really sparkled in Mexico he will nevertheless be looking to carry on the momentum generated in Scandinavia.
The same can be said for Hirvonen’s countryman Jari-Matti Latvala, who kick-started his title bid with victory in Sweden last month where his factory Ford team-mate Petter Solberg maintained his strong start to the year in fourth overall.
Solberg won Rally Mexico in 2005, a result that the Norwegian ranks has his last true victory in the WRC - his first place in Great Britain that year came after Loeb incurred a time penalty and dropped down the order.
The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Estonian star Ott Tanak has fond memories of competing in Mexico after he claimed his maiden world championship point on his debut on the event last season. Team-mate Evgeny Novikov began his tenure as an M-Sport driver in Mexico last season. Like Tanak the Russian ace will be vying for a strong result in his Fiesta RS WRC.
Nasser Al-Attiyah will be a contender for a top 10 finish in his Qatar World Rally Team Citroen DS3 WRC, while driver Thierry Neuville will be competing on his first world championship rally outside of Europe in Mexico so will be keen to build his experience by reaching the finish in his Citroen Junior World Rally Team DS3 WRC.
Mads Ostberg will be looking to build on the knowledge gained on his Rally Mexico debut last season as he chases a second consecutive podium in his Adapta World Rally Team Fiesta.
Rally Mexico will be significant for the Monster World Rally Team for a number of reasons. Not only does it mark Ken Block’s first WRC outing of 2012, it’s also the first time the squad has run a second car with Australian Chris Atkinson entered in a second Fiesta RS WRC. It will be a welcome return to the WRC for the capable Atkinson, who finished second on his last visit to Mexico way back in 2008 but hasn’t competed in the series since Rally Ireland in 2009.
The Go Fast Energy World Rally Team will be without Matthew Wilson for the second event running. Wilson is back in his native United Kingdom recuperating from the broken ankle he suffered during a training fall last month. His team-mate Henning Solberg’s participation was still in the balance at the time of writing due to the Norwegian’s ongoing financial struggles.
WRC Team MINI Portugal is responsible for MINI’s factory effort in the world championship. In Mexico, Portuguese ace Armindo Araujo - the double Production Car world champion - and Brazilian Paulo Nobre will pilot a brace of John Cooper Works WRCs. Meanwhile, Rally Mexico regular Francisco Name will drive a third MINI in what will be his debut in one of the Prodrive-developed cars.
Name’s fellow Mexican Ricardo Trivino will also be driving a new-generation World Rally Car in competition for the first time when he competes at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RS WRC prior to beginning his Production Car World Rally Championship bid later in the year.
Sebastien Ogier led in Mexico starting the final day of the event only to crash out. While the Frenchman is unlikely to run at the front in his Super 2000-specification Skoda Fabia, a top 10 finish isn’t beyond the Volkswagen Motorsport driver, who is contesting all 13 rounds of the WRC this year in a Fabia S2000 to stay match fit ahead of the debut of Volkswagen’s Polo R WRC in 2013.
Six drivers will fight for Production Car World Rally Championship glory in Mexico. A full preview will appear on Wrc.com next week.
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