29 Feb 08
Suzuki World Rally Team driver Toni Gardemeister commemorates his 100th WRC start on Rally Mexico. Talking exclusively to wrc.com Toni's co-driver, Tomi Tuominen describes the stage conditions the pair will face on Toni's WRC centenary.
SS1/4, Alfaro, 22.93km
Not an easy start to the rally. The first six kilometres are shared with SS4 and SS17, and the opening 15km are quite twisty. There were a lot of rocks on this stretch during the recce, but I expect that some of those will have been moved away before the actual stage runs. It's quite tight and narrow but the last part is nice; the surface is good, with quite a lot of gravel, and believe it or not it's similar to Rally Finland in places - without the jumps of course. As you can imagine, I like that part a lot.
SS2/5, Ortega, 22.83km
Even though we're supposedly on a rough rally in Mexico, this is quite a high-speed stage. This is my first attempt at Rally Mexico, but I've heard from many drivers that this one is very tough on brakes. It's certainly caused a lot of problems in the past. The last part is an uphill section that takes us to the highest point of the rally. This is where we need a lot of power but of course we lose a lot here because of the altitude - and this is where we'll really feel it. It's a long stage too and I reckon the toughest challenge of day one.
SS3/6, El Cubilete, 18.89km
This is an old stage so we started with Toni's previous notes from 2005 but in fact the road has changed a lot in three years. The first half is quite twisty, but it's super fast as well, which was a surprise for me. I was expecting the roads on this event to be generally slow, but they're very deceptive. The road changes character near the finish, however, and the very final part is very twisty with hairpins and some very big drop-offs on one side of the road. You have to be careful here because it's very easy to break the car.
SS7/8/15/16/20, Superspecial, 2.21km
I like this Superspecial because normally they tend to be quite slow but this one is different; I think it's based on a rallycross circuit and it has a good fast section as well as the normal tight and twisty stuff. There are two jumps, two water splashes and a road surface which is a mix of gravel and asphalt. Of course the Rally Finland Superspecial is my absolute favourite, but for me this is in second place.