Triple World Champion Sébastien Ogier tops a 30-car entry list for the 13th Rally Guanajuato Mexico, round three of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, taking place on March 3-6.The list contains 12 Priority 1 drivers, 10 P2 teams and eight others crews with drivers taking part from 17 countries.
Volkswagen Motorsport is represented by three-time Mexico winner Ogier and Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala, while the hopes of the official Hyundai Motorsport team rests with Belgian Thierry Neuville and Spaniard Dani Sordo.
Hyundai achieved its first podium finish with the i20 WRC in Mexico two years ago and Sordo and Neuville finished fifth and eighth overall in 2015.
Norwegian Mads Østberg was second overall in Mexico last year and he and French rookie Eric Camilli represent the M-Sport World Rally Team in a pair of Ford Fiesta RS WRCs.
The list of P1 drivers is completed by in-form Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen in a third Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Estonia’s Ott Tanak in his DMack World Rally Team Ford Fiesta, Kiwi Hayden Paddon in a third Hyundai N.G. i20 WRC, Czech driver Martin Prokop, Mexican Benito Guerra and Italian Lorenzo Bertelli in a trio of Ford Fiestas.
Mikkelsen’s new Norwegian co-driver Anders Jaeger Synnervag will gain his first experience of the altitude and punishing heat associated with the specialized Mexican gravel stages.
Ten crews will contest the competitive WRC2 category. Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah kick-started his campaign in 2015 with victory in Mexico and returns to defend the title he confirmed in Spain last year. But the Ford Fiesta R5 driver faces stiff competition from the likes of Finland’s Teemu Suninen, fellow Qatari Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and the Eastern European duo of Hubert Ptaszek and Radik Shaymiev.
Italian Max Rendina, the experienced German Armin Kremer, regular Peruvian WRC 2 competitor Nicolas Fuchs, Qatar’s Khaled Al-Suwaidi and local Mexican star Ricardo Triviňo round off the WRC 2 entrants.
“We are delighted with the strength and quality of the entry for Rally Mexico,” enthused Event Director Patrick Suberville.
“All the major WRC protagonists will take part and the size of the field enables us to run the complete event with three-minute intervals for safety and to alleviate potential problems with the dust. This will also give spectators an excellent hour and a half of viewing, often on two occasions each day.”
Frenchman Michel Fabre is the lone driver in the WRC 3 category in his Citroën DS3 R3T, but the entry is further bolstered by an impressive group of Mexican drivers, including rally regular Francisco Name and the likes of Javier Ortuňo, Carlos Salas Valdez, Jorge Gonzalez Hernandez and Miguel Medina.
Journeyman Valeriy Gorban has entered a Mini Countryman WRC, while Colombia’s Julian Jaramillo completes the line-up.