25 Feb 08
One of the most interesting aspects of this year's event will be tyres; specifically, how Pirelli's new control tyre for loose surfaces - Scorpion - performs on its first WRC outing. As gravel is the most common surface on this year's championship, the importance of the all-new tyre cannot be underestimated. Pirelli says that the new Scorpion's deeper tread block, reinforced sidewall and run-flat technology will be up to the task. But the fact remains that Mexico will be the first time that the tyre will have to deal with rocky terrain, on long stages that can become particularly difficult during the second run. And don't forget - there's no anti-deflation mousse this year.
This year's itinerary is virtually identical to 2007 with just a few small variations to some stages. It has the shortest route ever for a WRC event, covering just 830.83km with a remarkable 43 per cent of that being competitive.
The rally begins on Thursday evening with a spectacular ceremonial start in the historic city of Guanajuato, which last year was packed with more than 60,000 fans. The opening two days comprise two identical loops of three stages before two passes over a super special stage at Leon's race circuit. The track also hosts a double run on Sunday morning to bring the rally to a close.
On last year's event, defending world champion and 2006 Rally Mexico winner Sebastien Loeb clinched his 30th WRC victory. The Frenchman began the final day with a one-minute lead over Finland's Marcus Gronholm and managed his pace perfectly to record a winning margin of 55.8 seconds and become the first driver in WRC history to win 30 rallies.
His success marked a debut win for the Citroen C4 WRC on a gravel surface and set up the fascinating two-way battle with Gronholm for the 2007 drivers' championship.
Marcus Gronholm finished second to maintain his world championship lead, while Finland's Mikko Hirvonen completed a double podium finish for BP-Ford.