Corona Rally Mexico leg one report

Corona Rally Mexico ceremonial start tonight in the Center of Guanajuato. The 2003 Corona Rally Mexico was green flagged Wednesday evening with a magnificent ceremonial start in the city of Guanajuato, capital of the Mexican state of the same ...

Corona Rally Mexico ceremonial start tonight in the Center of Guanajuato.

The 2003 Corona Rally Mexico was green flagged Wednesday evening with a magnificent ceremonial start in the city of Guanajuato, capital of the Mexican state of the same name, a colonial mining town where thousands of spectators were lured by the fiesta atmosphere, intoxicating music and traditional ballet performances. There were 'Mariachis' -folk Mexican musicians- playing traditional music to which the University of Guanajuato internationally acclaimed folk dances outfit performed wearing different outfits representative of their state and country. In contrast, a show featuring futuristic dancers clad in skimpy, figure-hugging metallic costumes adorned with light beams followed accompanied by a spectacular light and fireworks show.

At precisely 8.00 p.m., Juan Carlos Romero, Governor of the State, flagged off car number one steered by Dani Solá, the reigning FIA Junior World Rally Champion, from Spain. Other public officials and sport authorities flagged off the remaining 44 crews, to the cheers and applause from the crowds, which were louder for the local crews which included champion driver Carlos Izquierdo and champion navigator Angélica Fuentes. There were drivers from no fewer than 11 countries, providing a truly international flavour as the event bids for inclusion in the FIA World Rally Championship.

The real action begins tomorrow as the competitors head to the mountains east of Leon to the fames Christ of the Cubilete for the opening leg which should start at 8.03 a.m. Friday's route covers 9 special stages with 148.46 kilometers over two repeats of 4 stages before the ninth and longest stage of the rally, Ibarrilla which stands at 30.24 km. and should be decisive in the standings. The crews return to the service center in the León Polyforum for the overnight halt starting at 18.14 hrs.

Ligato leads Rally Corona México after day one (WRC)

Friday was the first day of Rally Corona México and after a tough battle which eliminated 20 cars and left only 25 ready to start the second leg of the rally, Argentinian Marcos Ligato, South American rally champion, leads the standings with 55.5 seconds on hand over his closest pursuer, Peruvian Ramón Ferreyros, winner of this rally in 2001, both using Mitsubishi Lancers. A total of 9 special stages were run and Ligato took the lead from the very first one, battling Ramón and world junior champ Dani Solá from Spainb, but by the fourth stage, the spectacular Arperos where a huge jump caused more than its share of thrills for both competitors and spectators, Ferreyros took the lead. After the first service, Ligato was fourth but he came back in the first stage going up in the Cubilete Mountain to reach the 100 feet+ tall statue of Christ and ended the stage only 2.3 seconds away from Ramón. Marcos took the lead in the next stage and Ramón went to fourth behind Dani and Polish Janosz Kulig. Marcos kept the lead in the next two stages (the first four were repeated once in the day) but in the eigth, Arperos II, Ferreyros cut the advantage considerably and the stage was set for a grand -partial- finale in the ninth and longest stage (30.24 kms), Ibarrilla. There, in the first meters Dani Solá lost his car in a turn ("the road was too slippery" he'd say later) and rolled losing second place and his car. Mexican champ Carlos Izquierdo, who was running ninth, lost pressure in the turbo of his Mitsubishi and was 35 minutes late falling to place 25 and last. Ferreyros couldn't cut Ligato's advantage but he passed the Pole and came in second at the end of the day. The first Mexicans are currently in eigth position but 8 of the top 10 are foreigners. <pre> The best 10 times were:

Pos Driver              Car             Country         Time
1   Marcos Ligato       Mitsubishi      Argentin        1º39'24.4"
2   Ramón Ferreyros     Mitsubishi      Perú            1º40'19.9"
3   Janosz Kulig        Mitsubishi      Poland          1º40'27.8"
4   Patrick Richard     Subaru          Canada          1º44'19.3"
5   Andrés Montalto     Subaru          Costa Rica      1º47'11.2"
6   Amadeo Quiros       Toyota Corolla  Costa Rica      1º44'19.3"
7   Pietro Doninelli    Mitsubishi      Costa Rica      1º44'19.3"
8   Alejandro Pimentel  Mitsubishi      México          1º44'19.3"
9   Guillermo Salas     Renault Clío    México          1º44'19.3"
10  Wyeth Gubelmann     Subaru          USA             1º44'19.3"

-cs-

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Series Other rally
Drivers Ramon Ferreyros , Wyeth Gubelmann , Alejandro Pimentel , Patrick Richard , Amadeo Quiros