Sun 12 Mar 2023

Excitement builds for Mexico's return

It’s that time of the year when the FIA World Rally Championship seems to bypass spring and go directly from winter’s deep freeze to the searing heat of summer.

Welcome back to Mexico. Welcome back to the gravel. The time has come to get dusty.

It’s three years since the WRC was in Leon, but while the global pandemic brought the world to a standstill, the organisers of North America’s round of the championship have been busier than ever. The service park has had a significant makeover, with the original area evolving into a rally village with covered bays for the teams and some of the season’s finest facilities for fans, with restaurants and bars on the periphery of the action.

There are, of course, some things that just don’t need fixing. Thursday night in Guanajuato being the prime example. Round three’s ceremonial start and opening – at times – subterranean stage is one of the year’s undoubted highlights. The atmosphere’s quite extraordinary and the perfect way to get one of the season’s absolute adventures underway.

And, over the course of rally week, the WRC will be just that, a huge adventure. Climbing as high as 2,700 metres (higher than at any point for the rest of the year) the roads wind their way between the cacti, watched over by entire villages who happily put their world on hold while the world’s fastest drivers fly by.

As a city, León has grown tremendously since Markko Märtin won that inaugural event back in 2004 – but at its heart, the place remains the same. This is still Mexico’s shoe-making capital and it’s still the only place this year where the winner will be treated to the coolest and most valuable pair of cowboy boots ever.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM