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Thu 16 Mar 2023

Mexico: The story behind the boots

Come Sunday afternoon, one driver and one co-driver will be delighted to take their shoes off. Why? Because their change of footwear will have come about courtesy of a round three victory.

But why the boots?

Guanajuato Rally México manager Gilles Spitalier explains all.

“I was asked by the León shoe association to get the winning driver’s shoes for their museum,” said Spitalier.

“In 2008, I arranged exchange of driving shoes for some very fine boots made in León. We did this and we took Sébastien Loeb’s [race] boots.

“Nobody really thought this was going to become a thing, but when the drivers put the boots on, we made an agreement with the FIA to change the finish protocol to include this exchange of boots. It was great and worked really well to demonstrate the Mexican look with the bottle of Corona and big Mexican hat.

WATCH: Previous winners of Guanajuato Rally México

“To be honest, a few years later I was a bit worried that people might get tired of the whole cowboy boots thing. I thought about stopping it. It was around 2013 and Patrick [Suberville, rally director] and I were talking – he said the media was all asking: “Who will wear the boots on Sunday?”

“It had really become quite a big thing. We kept it going and now it’s something we really enjoy – and everybody is always very happy to wear the boots! It’s a trademark for Rally México.”

So, the only question remaining is: who will wear the boots on Sunday?