Wednesday | 04 Mar 2015

Rally Guanajuato Mexico: Recce Notes

Tuesday and Wednesday’s pre-event recce was the first opportunity for competitors to see the stages they will tackle at full speed later this week.

We drove them as well, to give you a driver’s eye view of the challenge ahead. Here are some of the highlights:

Dust in Los Mexicanos
Mexican stages are notorious for the loose dirt and gravel that covers them and Friday’s 9.9km Los Mexicanos was particularly bad. The corner below is about 800 metres from the start and the surface is covered with a deep layer of fine, powdery dust. Not only will this make things slippery for the front-runners, it also has the potential to cause dust clouds, hampering visibility for the cars following. Organisers can increase the start gaps from two to three minutes if this becomes an issue.

The Guanajuato Street Stage tunnel
Soon after the start of Thursday’s opening stage, crews will dart into Guanajuato’s subterranean tunnel system and attempt the tricky right-hander the bus is negotiating below. Even though it’s dry as a bone outside, leaky drains keep the cobbled road wet here. Ken Block has been one of the many casualties of this corner.

High altitudes
This rally features the highest altitudes of the season, with Friday’s El Chocolate stage peaking at 2,781metres above sea level. We’re on the way up that climb in the picture below - the GPS showing 2,647metres.

El Brinco under construction
Crews will tackle the famous jump on the El Brinco stage three times - twice on Saturday and once on Sunday as part of the Power Stage. The jump is in the foreground in the picture below - in-line with the blue and red painted pole. By Saturday, the concrete hump will be painted Guanajuato blue (you can just make out some of last year’s paint). The fields to the side have been turned into campsites and up to 10,000 spectators are expected to flock to the area to watch the cars fly.

The deceptive Ibarrilla kink
Saturday’s Ibarrilla stage has caught out many drivers in the past, and this high-speed section in particular has proved tricky. Cars approach downhill from the right and tackle this deceptive left-right kink before a long left-hander. Ken Block and Ott Tanak have both ended up in the deep ditch that lines the left-hand side of the road.

The Otates descent
Another tricky downhill section on Saturday's itinerary. Pictured near the top is the spot where Andreas Mikkelsen clipped a corner and rolled his Volkswagen Polo last year. Nasser Al Attiyah has also had a moment here - slipping off the road and along a bank in 2013.

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