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Round three of the World Rally Championship is the Rally of Mexico from March 9 to 11, an event which never fails to produce memorable moments in rallying. Martin Holmes looks back on one of those - when Petter Solberg and Subaru had a potential victory taken from their grasp.
Petter Solberg Mexico 2004

Petter Solberg's Subaru is pushed into the time control at Rally Mexico in 2004.

"There were many novelties at Rally Mexico in 2004, the most significant being that the WRC had arrived in Central America. But critically, this was the first rally after the FIA’s regulation changes came into full force. There were revisions to the general format which required an overall event limit of five days, flexi-service, the electronic tyre bar coding control system, a reduction of gravel note crews, and shorter shakedown periods. These changes had only been mandated six weeks before the event!
Another novelty was the launch of Subaru’s latest model Impreza WRC.
Day one featured four stages and Petter Solberg shot his Subaru into the lead. It had been a hot afternoon as a lengthy, relaxed road section from the final stage of the day north of Guanajuato took cars back to service. Cars had a long wait outside the in-control at Leon’s Poliforum complex. Solberg’s very complicated electronic systems were not fully shut down and the battery went flat.
Petter Solberg and Corona girls

Always popular with the girls, Petter Solberg enjoys his fame.

There was nothing to do but push the car into the control and then service. There was, however, an incline up to the control point from the yellow board, beyond which no outside assistance was permitted.
Seeing their favourite crew struggling helplessly to push the car up the slope, a group of Norwegian fans rushed forward to help. It was a serious mistake!
They did get the car to the control, but what happened was well noted. Officials leniently issued only a five minute penalty, but enough to drop Petter off the podium. In the tough fight against the Fords of Markko Martin and Francois Duval, and the Citroen of Carlos Sainz, Petter finally finished fourth. Countless adventures were to follow in subsequent Mexico Rallies, but Petter Solberg led the way!"
Petter Solberg Mexico 2004

Petter Solberg and a couple of local fans at Rally Mexico in 2004.

Related news:

https://rallysportmag.com/loeb-back-rally-mexico-entry-list-released230218/ https://rallysportmag.com/swede-wins-world-rx-title-solberg-breaks-collarbone/
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