WRC

Mexico rubber-stamps its 2005 route

Following a detailed survey and final safety inspection in early January, the organization of Corona Rally Mexico has confirmed its route for the 2005 event. In total, the rally will cover eight special stages, 14 in total, and 356.17 competitive...

Following a detailed survey and final safety inspection in early January, the organization of Corona Rally Mexico has confirmed its route for the 2005 event. In total, the rally will cover eight special stages, 14 in total, and 356.17 competitive kilometers in a total distance of 929.89 kilometers. No less than 38% of the route is competitive and it never strays further than 50 kilometers from rally headquarters, making it among the most compact in the 16-round series.

In its debut year in the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship, Corona Rally Mexico was voted the second-best event in the 16-round series and also received the Star of the Rally award for its achievements. Far from resting on its laurels, the organizer is making further refinements to enhance the all-round spectacle and plans are underway to make it the best event in the world.

In the last months, aerial surveys of the route have been undertaken and the re-grading and preparatory work is well in progress after the rainy season, with control and management of this immense job coming from the highest level within the State Government of Guanajuato. In contrast to previous years, no fewer than six companies have been deployed by the Government to undertake the work, ensuring fast and efficient progress high in the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato mountains. In addition to ensuring the roads are some of the best in the world for the sport, the benefit to the local communities is almost immeasurable. After heavy rains, previously impassable and deteriorated roads have now been re-opened to the inhabitants, providing vital means of communication.

The stages for 2005 remain largely unchanged from 2004, although small modifications have been made to comply with the latest FIA regulations, enhance the overall sporting interest and incorporate spectator areas with independent access. The route does however include two new stages, which will provide a thrilling finale to the 2005 Corona Rally Mexico.

The opening leg on Friday 11 March, which is the longest and highest, includes two loops of three stages, only one of which is identical to 2004. Ortega-La Esperanza remains the same and is still the highest stage of the event peaking at 2,737 meters. However, Ibarrilla-El Zauco - a fast stage which flows through spectacular open plains - has been shortened by 4.74 kilometers. Santana-Cubilete has also been reduced by 0.81 kilometers, but takes the finish onto cobblestones at the summit of El Cubilete and close to the old monument which is visible for miles sitting at a height of 2,473 meters.

On Saturday, the crews face another six stages; three run twice split by service back in Leon. Again, two stages have been modified. El Zauco-Mesa - formerly Ibarrilla-Mesa - has a totally new start but joins the old route towards Mesa after approximately eight kilometers. Duarte-Otates starts in the same place as last year, but after five kilometers it goes into a new section for 15 kilometers and ends 10 kilometers before the old finish. Derramadero-Chichimequillas, which features one of the most spectacular jumps of the event, remains the same.

Sunday represents a fresh challenge for the crews with two new stages, albeit utilizing some sections of road used in previous years. The leg, which is 43% competitive, starts with the 18.26 kilometer Comanjilla-Chichimequillas stage. The section takes the crews from the town of Comanjilla up the mountainside before joining the route of stages 9/12 to Chichimequillas. Corona Rally Mexico then reaches its climax with the longest stage of the event and possibly the longest in the FIA World Rally Championship. At 44.39 kilometers, Alfaro-El Establo offers crews a combination of high and low speed action and twisty up and downhill sections over a mix of hard-packed gravel and sandy surfaces. As the final stage of the 2005 event, it is sure to provide thrilling action all the way to the finish.

Corona Rally Mexico, the third round of the FIA World Rally Championship, is hosted in Leon, Guanajuato, and runs from 10-13 March 2005. It is also a qualifying round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, which ventures outside Europe for the first time.

-crm-

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