Following its victory on the snow and ice of Rally Sweden to take the triple lead of the manufacturers’, drivers’ and co-drivers championships, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is preparing for a very different challenge on Rally Mexico: the first true gravel event of the season. Ott Tänak heads to Mexico on top of the drivers’ standings for the first time after his Swedish success, while his team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke are both past winners of the event.
As well as usually being one of the warmest events on the WRC calendar, with ambient temperatures around 30°C, Rally Mexico is also the highest round of the season. The route peaks at 2,737m above sea level, where the thinner air reduces engine power by as much as 20 per cent.
The rally begins again this year with the spectacular Thursday evening stage through the colourful streets and tunnels of Guanajuato. Another street stage runs next to the service park in Leon on Friday and Saturday together with laps of the city’s racing circuit. On Sunday the new Mesa Cueta stage features the first half of Friday’s El Chocolate test, while a second visit to Las Minas runs as the rally-ending Power Stage.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“I am looking forward to being in Mexico: particularly the warm sun at the end of the Finnish winter! So far, it hasn’t really been the start to the season for me that I would have wanted. If there is one positive from this, however, it is that I will have quite a nice starting position for the first day in Mexico, as the eighth car on the road. I had a good test in Spain last week, using pretty much the same setup that I used to win in Australia, with just a few small tweaks. Most importantly, I am confident that as a team we are totally prepared this year for the altitude and the high temperatures.”
What happened last year?
In his first rally on gravel in the Toyota Yaris WRC, Ott Tänak showed good performance in Mexico, lying third overall and within reach of the lead before suffering a turbo issue on Saturday morning. He restarted on Sunday and won the Power Stage ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who finished eighth overall under restart rules following an alternator failure on Friday. Esapekka Lappi was also forced to restart in the third Yaris WRC after going off the road.
Press release TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally team