Fri 10 Mar 2023

Rally Rewind: Mexico 2020

As we leave behind the European winter to head into the heat of Guanajuato Rally México (16 - 19 March), let's cast our minds back to the WRC's last visit to the event in 2020.

Ogier victorious
After snatching the lead during Friday morning’s Ortega speed test, Sébastien Ogier never looked back - keeping his Toyota Yaris on the road in sizzling hot conditions.

Whilst his rivals hit trouble, Ogier was level-headed and ended the event with a 27.8sec advantage over Ott Tänak, who was driving a Hyundai i20 at the time. In doing so, the Frenchman added a sixth Mexico triumph to his record and his first in Mexico for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.

“A victory is a victory of course, but this one feels different from any other. I want to thank my team - they have done a fantastic job,” Ogier said at the finish.

Lappi feels the heat
Esapekka Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm made a lucky escape after their Ford Fiesta caught fire during Friday’s opening leg.

The M-Sport crew arrived at the finish of the El Chocolate test with flames lapping the rear end of the car. Ferm leapt out before Lappi bravely drove on, aiming to get the car as far away as possible from the stop line before it eventually burnt out.

It was only once he had exited the car that the Finn realised the full extent of the fire. "I didn't realise how big the fire was, so I tried to still drive," Lappi told WRC+. "Luckily we are fine."

Mexico 2020: Lappi and Ferm escape burning wreck

Suninen brings home a podium
After team-mate Lappi’s fiery exit, Teemu Suninen gave M-Sport some reason to smile by finishing third overall - picking up valuable championship points in the process.

“Actually, it's more than I hoped for at this rally,” Suninen reflected at the time. “We were able to have a consistent pace and we stayed away from the problems. At the end, we lost one brake which basically stopped the fight but that's rallying. Even without those issues, I don't think I would have beaten Ott Tänak.”

Legend Block wows the fans
Motorsport icon Ken Block wheeled out his Ford Escort RS Cosworth for the León-based event - marking his first WRC attendance since Spain in 2018.

Block drew huge attention, especially at the brace of Guanajuato street stages on Thursday night, but his event started to go downhill as he prepared to go underground and into the tunnels on the legendary fan-pleasing city tests.

The Escort developed a misfire on the way to the stages and he was forced to drive both in ‘safe’ mode with little power.

His team fixed the misfire but there was nothing they could do to stop the engine overheating in Friday morning’s El Chocolate opener, the first gravel stage of the event, and Block retired from the rally.

Bulacia announces his arrival
Aged just 19 at the time, Marco Bulacia showed maturity beyond his years by taking a commanding victory on his WRC3 debut. Bulacia, driving a Citroën C3 R5, was fastest on 10 stages. He finished an impressive eighth overall, more than four minutes clear of nearest challenger Emilio Fernández.

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