After asphalt in Monte Carlo and snow in Sweden, Rally Guanajuato Mexico is the first gravel rally of the season and features a revised itinerary for 2013 that will test tyre management.
Increased competitive distances on every loop of stages mean drivers will need to cleverly manage their tyre allocation to make the most of their rubber.
Friday’s route is especially tough, with two sections featuring 80km of stage distance without a service. Sunday’s final day, however, could offer a last minute sting in the tail with the mammoth 54.85km Guanajuatito test making up the bulk of the action.
Both Michelin’s Latitude Cross and DMACK’s DMG+2 tyres are available in hard and soft compounds to suit the varied conditions on the nine gravel rallies in the season.
In Mexico, each WRC crew will have 28 hard-compound tyres available, plus 16 soft-compound tyres in case of wet or damp conditions. Each competitor is allowed to use a maximum of 28 tyres across both compounds for the entire event.
“Tyre management will be critical and I think drivers and teams need to think carefully around how they best deal with some of the long distances,” warned Dick Cormack, motorsport director of DMACK, which supplies WRC drivers Martin Prokop and Michal Kosciuszko.
“Mexico offers another different surface this year and again another new specification of tyre from DMACK. We continue to work closely with our drivers and incorporate the information from events into our ongoing development,” he added.
Michelin, which supplies the majority of the WRC entrants, has elected to keep the same construction, tread pattern and materials it used for its 2012-spec Latitude Cross tyres.
“After analysing the construction, we decided to look more especially at the compound for 2013 in order to achieve the targeted levels of versatility and tyre life,” explained Michelin Motorsport technical director Nicolas Goubert. “We succeeded in extending the life of the tyre without having to make any changes to the tread band.”