Rally Mexico – Munchis preview
- 7th March 2007, 11:29am
Luis Perez Companc/Jose Maria Volta and Juan Pablo Raies/Jorge Perez Companc will head to Mexico confident after a successful familiarisation session with their 2006 Ford Focus RS World Rally cars last month in Sweden.
Corona Rally Mexico has come along way since its insertion into the WRC in 2004. The recently completed Silao-San Felipe Highway has made this the shortest ever WRC event in history at 849.55 kilometres in total competitive route, 43% of which are timed special stages.
As the first complete gravel event of the year, Mexico brings to fans 20 stages of action-packed rallying including the Nextel Super Special Stage which has been recently modified to allow competitors to attack even harder this year.
The stages offer a variety of conditions for competitors as fast flowing sectors can easily change into narrow twisting roads. In the past, ruts and out of place rocks have caused havoc for many drivers as strength and reliability become a major factor in results.
With the rally base in Leon, 1800 meters above sea level, cars can loose up to 100bhp as a result of minimal air intake due to the conditions experienced at altitude. This is the only event on the WRC calendar based in Central/North America and is the furthest west in the championship.
In 2006 Companc steered his Focus RS to a commendable 13th position overall after suffering an off on the first leg, returning under SupeRally regulations for the final two days. Companc drove a measured rally last year scoring two manufacturer points, and setting top ten stage times on every test over the final two legs.
After an unfortunate exclusion from the Swedish Rally, due to a minor regulation infringement, Raies will be looking to put the issue behind him and tackle the Central American roads for the first time in his career. With a surface similar to that of South America, and Raies with two South American Rally Championships under his belt, it’s going to be a full-on attack by the 36-year-old.
Both drivers are looking forward to their first gravel rally of the year and will be hoping to score the team’s first ever manufacturer point next week in Leon.
Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Luis Perez Companc said:
“I am looking forward to doing this rally again because it will be the third time that I have done it and also I like very much the roads. It is a different and tricky event but at least the gravel surface is where I feel most comfortable. The idea is to start quickly, although you still have to look after the car because the roads suffer a lot of damage after the first pass and from my experience in the past you have to look after the car in the first leg not to have any major problems. I think that we can score some points in this event. The next four rallies for us are all gravel events, some of them I have already done so I am looking forward to these events also.”
Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team Driver Juan Pablo Raies said:
“We can’t wait to get started on Rally Mexico, it is a gravel event where we will perform better and, I hope, do well. It is going to be much easier than Sweden for me, the climate and roads are more like what we are used to, but we still have to carry on gaining experience to better understand and get used to the car. The plan for Mexico is to have a very good reconnaissance and then try to finish the event so that it will give me more experience with Jorge. I am quite sure we can score some points, Luis knows this event well and I hope he can be in the points and I will also try to be as far up as possible. We have been waiting for this event to start, racing on gravel should improve our stage times and by the time we do Rally Argentina we should perform well.”
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