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Tue 26 Sep 2023

WRC stars gather at historical La Moneda Palace

An illustrious assembly of WRC drivers, organisers and government officials convened at the iconic La Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday in a prelude to the highly anticipated Rally Chile Bio Bío.

Based in the South American country’s capital, La Moneda Palace is a historic government building which has served as the presidential house for the nation since its inception in 1805. Marked by the presence of top national media, the event set the stage for an electrifying rally week from 28 September to 1 October.


Among the attendees were reigning WRC champion and current championship leader Kalle Rovanperä, Hyundai Motorsport star Teemu Suninen and M-Sport Ford's Pierre-Louis Loubet. Local heroes were also well-represented by Alberto Heller, who debuts a Ford Puma Rally1 on home soil this week, as well as 10-time national champion Jorge Martínez.


The high-profile gathering also included key figures such as Chile's Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro and Tourism Vice-Secretary Verónica Pardo, plus rally promoter Felipa Horta and WRC Event Director Simon Larkin.

The "Los Naranjos" patio, where many presidents have historically addressed the nation, provided the perfect backdrop for media interactions as top national networks broadcasted live and conducted interviews.


Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Rovanperä, who carries a 33-point advantage into this 11th round of the FIA World Rally Championship, said: "I keep most of the Chilean stages' details in my mind from my visit here back in 2019 when I won my class in a Škoda Fabia R5.


“One important matter which everybody is talking about is the changing weather in this area. Even if this time the rally is held at the beginning of spring, it can be sunny or rainy in just a while. Next Sunday is my 23rd birthday and, of course, I would be very happy if I could celebrate with a win."