07 - 10 Mar 13
Categories:WRC, WRC-2, WRC-3
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Loeb (2012)
Mexico hosts the first gravel event, with a couple of exciting new stages for 2013. In total there will be 23 stages over a competitive distance of 397 kilometres. The monster Guanajuatito stage will again be the longest of the rally, increasing in length very slightly to 54.9 kilometres.
Following the traditional 1.5-kilometre Guanajuato Street Stage in the Mexican city - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - on the evening of Thursday 7 March, crews will also tackle a new 2.16-kilometre test through Guanajuato’s Bicentennial Park, which was built two years ago between the cities of Guanajuato, Leon and Silao to celebrate 200 years of Mexican independence.
In other changes, the introduction of the new 31 kilometres El Chocolate test on Friday 8 March brings the day’s competitive running to 161 kilometres, while the Derramadero stage has been more than doubled in length to form the event’s Power Stage on Sunday 10 March. Meanwhile, the Leon Street Stage will be included on Friday and Saturday, while the Super Special Stage at Leon’s racing circuit will be pressed into action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Every year, the organisers of Rally Guanajuato Mexico strive to incorporate more original and imaginative locations along its route to provide further thrills for drivers, teams, spectators, and the media alike, and take advantage of the endless array of bounties offered by the State of Guanajuato, and this year will be no exception,” a statement issued by the event read.
But while the format has undergone several tweaks, the rock-strewn tracks, high ambient temperatures and altitudes will continue to provide the main challenge for the WRC crews on their first of two visits to the American continent during the season.
Added to the WRC schedule in 2004, the Leon-based event is famed for its spectacular ceremonial start in the city of Guanajuato, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, it’s the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato mountains that will continue to host the bulk of the stage action. The high-altitude tests make for spectacular viewing with a mixture of mountain peaks and flat open valleys. The altitude has its downside, however, as the engines struggle to breathe in the thin air and suffer a drop in power of approximately 20 per cent. The road surface is dry and sandy, but with rocks getting pulled onto the stages caution is very much the watchword.