Mladá Boleslav, 5 March 2018 – After ice and snow on the opening rounds of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in Monte Carlo and Sweden, the tough gravel roads of Rally Guanajuato Mexico (8 – 11 March 2018) are a different challenge. ŠKODA Motorsport has entered reigning WRC 2 Champions Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (SWE/SWE) and 17 years old Kalle Rovanperä with co-driver Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN) into the season’s third WRC round. While Pontus Tidemand wants to move into the WRC 2 championship lead by repeating his victory from last year, Kalle Rovanperä is the very first time nominated for WRC 2 being an official ŠKODA Motorsport driver.
"In Mexico, we will field a unique combination of experience and speed. Pontus won the WRC 2 category in Mexico last year and will again be the man to beat. Kalle already proved his speed on lose surface. Our ŠKODA FABIA R5 are well prepared for the challenge on the tough gravel roads of Rally Mexico," emphasizes ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek and adds: "After temperatures below zero in Monte Carlo and Sweden, in Mexico the engines not only have to face 30 degrees Celsius and more. The stages also reach extreme altitudes, the highest point at 2,737 metres. The correct engine mapping is crucial, because the thin air causes a power loss of up to 20 per cent."
Pontus Tidemand has good memories of Rally Mexico. "Last year, I could win after a tense fight. With another good result, I could take the lead of 2018 WRC 2 championship standings. But I am pretty sure, my competitors, including my young and fast teammate Kalle, will give me a hard time," confesses the reigning WRC 2 champion. Kalle Rovanperä on the other hand is starting the first time in Mexico. "I am here to learn. I love to drive on gravel – and my ŠKODA FABIA R5 is perfectly prepared for the extreme conditions of Mexico," says the young Finn. Incidentally Kalle Rovanperä will be accompanied by his father Harri, who won Rally Mexico in 2002, when it was a candidate event for the FIA World Rally Championship.
Rally Mexico will start with the spectacular street stage in Guanajuato on Thursday (8 March, 20h08 local time) which features an underground road through a former mining tunnel. On Friday (9 March), the longest day of the rally, the crews are facing nine special stages covering 155 kilometres on rough gravel. The longest stage of the rally, the 31.44 kilometres long "El Chocolate", will climb up to an altitude of more than 2,700 metres. On Saturday and Sunday (10/11 March), the rally features twelve more stages covering additional 186.81 kilometres, including the Powerstage "Las Minas", before the winner will be on the podium at 14h30. Rally Guanajuato Mexico is based in Léon, the country’s fifth largest city some 400 kms north-west of Mexico City.
Did you know, that...
...Rally Mexico was first run in 1979, before it became part of the FIA World Rally Championship in 2004?
…on stages reaching altitudes of up to 2,737 metres the engines lose around 20 percent of their power?
… with a mix of tarmac and gravel roads the stage on the "Autódromo de Léon" is regarded as one of the best show stages of the FIA World Rally Championship?
…the father of ŠKODA junior Kalle Rovanperä, Harri, won Rally Mexico 2002 with a lead of nearly one hour when it was a candidate event for the World Rally Championship?
… up to now ŠKODA sold almost 180 ŠKODA FABIA R5 to customers worldwide?
The 2018 calendar of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Great Britain 04/10/–07/10/2018