M-Sport Ford World Rally Team are targeting a return to form on the third round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Taking to the wheel of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC at next week’s Rally Mexico, Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen all have a chance of challenging for the podium.
The team conducted their pre-event test in Spain, only for it to be cut short by the wintry weather that has engulfed much of Europe. The Beast from the East may have cut the test from five days to three, but the Cumbrian squad remain well-prepared thanks to Ford’s invaluable technical support.
Making use of the Blue Oval’s state-of-the-art Climatic Chamber in Dunton, the team are able to replicate the altitude and expected temperatures which – combined with the data from the test – allows the engineers to configure the best maps and set-up for the challenges ahead.
HIGH ALTITUDE; UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE
Rally Mexico is a truly unique event on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar. As one of the most colourful and exciting events of the year, it’s also one of the most challenging with sweltering heat and high altitude taking its toll on crews and cars alike.
The 30°C heat can be closer to 50°C in the cockpit. The crews must be in peak physical condition and every technical component must be able to withstand the punishing temperatures.
If that weren’t enough, the stages climb more than 2,700 meters above sea level where the oxygen-starved air can see engine performance reduced by as much as 20 percent. The drivers must adjust their driving to contend with the reduced power, and the engineers must do their research to ensure maximum performance throughout the weekend.
The gravel stages can also be rough going, especially over the second pass, and the crews must maintain their concentration levels to avoid the pitfalls that make this event a rally of attrition.
In short, Rally Mexico is one of the most challenging events of the year, but it is also one of the most vibrant. The Mexican fans have taken rallying to their hearts and their enthusiasm is best captured in the historic town of Guanajuato.
The colours, sights and sounds are not to be missed, and the opening super special through the town’s former mining tunnels epitomise the atmosphere which surrounds this unique event.