Take your sombrero as we’re heading to Guanajuato for the thrilling Rally Mexico 2023. It will be a long and exciting adventure. Due to the time difference between Mexico and Europe, that will be a night call for rally fans, when the coffee with piloncillo will be up to date! Rally Mexico returns to the schedule after two years of absence. And it’s time to get dusty as it is the WRC season’s opening gravel round. We have a special feeling for Rally Mexico, so turn off your alarm clocks, prepare for the rough challenge through the dusty roads at the background of mariachi sounds!
Mexico is back in the FIA World Rally Championship.
The last Mexican stage was held in 2020. It almost ended with Sebastien Ogier’s victory, but it was halted in the middle by the Covid-19 pandemic’ restrictions. It took almost three years finally to start a truly fascinating fixture.
However, Rally Mexico 2023 organizers promise that will be a real racing celebration. That is for a reason, as the current contract with the WRC promoter expires at the end of the 2023 season. As a result, everything is going according to plan! And here it is.
Rally Mexico 2023 is about endurance.
First, it’s about dust, too much dust. We plan to face that challenge. It’s all about gravel! It is challenging to find another similar experience with rough turns and a dusty surface. Near the largest City of León, even the dust is special. In addition, our brave rally drivers and hybrid Rally1 cars are ready to travel each metre of breathtaking scenery from Sierra de Lobos to Sierra Guanajuato!
Keep in mind that you will be heading to the highest point of WRC season’s destination as the Mexican area lifts us up at 2,700 metres to rushing the roads through the hot weather, the cacti to fly by the villages. Quite a test of endurance, that’s not the word! Mexican air is also unique, or better to say thinner. The result of such features is that Rally1 car hybrids may lose 20 percent of their power.
Someone, however, claims the upgraded hybrid specification will lessen the impact. To put it simply, technical problems are a sure bet.
Driving carefully is the key. But rally racing in Guanajuato is not about comfortable conditions to keep a close eye on the road. The weather forecast calls for sunny skies with temperatures nudging 30°C, putting additional strain on engines. This really is a brutal test for our drivers and their rally cars.
Atmospheric WRC Mexico’s adventure.
During our adventure, we will cover 320.23km over 971.32km in 23 stages. There is no doubt that the start of a WRC Mexican adventure is always a very authentic one. There is something extraordinary about the atmosphere at Rally Mexico, but it is marvelous, filled with colors against the backdrop of coming rally cars. Magic, no less.
So we’re going to start with the celebration on Thursday night. Let’s do nothing in order to free up the time for the ceremony in Guanajuato with its amazing subterranean stage.
The start of our racing adventure is scheduled for Thursday 7PM. Keep in mind the time difference, as Mexico’s time zone is GMT-6. Anyway, we will be rushing to iconic street tests through Guanajuato’s former mining tunnels. That will be just a warm-up for the following Friday.
Guanajuato Rally Mexico route
With Friday comes the real challenge through the dust. As a result, we can label the day as Chocolate Day. The highlight of the route is that rally drivers will pass the village where chocolate has been made for almost 4000 years. Whether it’s true or not, SS3 and SS6 are about El Chocolate’ stage (31.45km) – another worthy reason to make a cup of the sweet beverage.
When we start at noon and race until late at night by European time to pass Ortega (15.61km) and Las Minas (13.61km) before a breather in León. The three tests are repeated before two more exciting stages. Las Dunas (3.84km) – the gravel quarry roads and Distrito León Mx Rock & Rally (2.83km) runs on asphalt and cobblestones. It’s crucial to keep the tires in good condition and be proficient when it comes to working at the wheel effectively.
A longer run means more fun, as they say. It appears that we are going to almost repeat the long distance of about 128 km of action on Saturday, including the passing Ibarrilla (14.89km), El Mosquito (22.47km), Derramadero (21.69km) and Las Dunas (21.69km).
The stages are repeated in the afternoon after service, with another pass of Distrito León Mx Rock & Rally rounding out the penultimate leg.
This Sunday’s finale is all about fiestas! The program is short – 61.37km of action. Las Dunas is the first challenge, followed by Otates (35.39km), the longest of the rally.
For all the survivors, there will be San Diego (12.56km), before the event ends with the Wolf Power Stage in El Brinco (9.58km).
Who will win the Rally Mexico 2023?
All of our rally drivers are already rubbing their hands and claiming they are ready. Do not believe, as they know well, that Rally Mexico is an unpredictable event. ‘Drive to survive’ – if you want.
We have that one to bet on, however, among the fastest. While Sébastien Loeb scored six consecutive victories between 2006 and 2012, he is not on the grid at the moment. In the meantime, the last Rally Mexico winner Sébastien Ogier will now race Toyota’s Yaris WRC to win cowboy boots, the traditional prize in this area.
Ott Tänak has already marked the WRC 2023 season with victory at the previous second round – Rally Sweden. Having switched from Hunyadi to M-Sport, he now has additional reasons to win, as well as a purple Puma with a high level of speed. Just add a bit of skills and the winning of Rally Mexico will be in his pocket. This is, of course, hypothetical, as no one knows how hybrid Rally1 cars 2023 handle gravel dusty surfaces.
Our plan is also to see Hyundai Motorsport drivers, Thierry Neuville, and experienced Dani Sordo on the podium. Moreover, if everything goes smoothly without technical issues, Toyota’s young star Kalle Rovanperä should be in the top three. Especially, if it will be possible to avoid the tires issue, but honestly we’re not sure.
Rally Mexico 2023 schedule (local time)
Note the time difference, as Mexico is GMT-6 zone. Full schedule as well as the full coverage of the event on WRC All Live
|Thursday 16th MARCH||LOCAL TIME|
|PRE SHOW FROM THE ALHONDIGA, GUANAJUATO MEXICO||19:15|
|SS1 & SS2 STREET STAGE GTO 1 & 2||20:00|
|Friday 17th MARCH||LOCAL TIME|
|STUDIO FROM THE PIPILLA GUANAJUATO||08:30|
|SS3 – EL CHOCOLATE 1||08:48|
|SS4 – ORTEGA 1||09:46|
|SS5 – LAS MINAS 1||10:39|
|STUDIO FROM MEDIA ZONE & SERVICE B, POLIFORUM CAMPUS||12:15|
|SS6 – EL CHOCOLATE 2||14:22|
|SS7 – ORTEGA 2||15:20|
|STUDIO FROM THE SERVICE PARK, POLIFORUM CAMPUS, LEON||16:07|
|SS8 – LAS MINAS 2||16:13|
|SS9 – LAS DUNAS SUPERSPECIAL 1||17:15|
|SS10 – DISTRITO LEON MX ROCK & RALLY SSS1||18:15|
|SERVICE C FROM THE SERVICE PARK, POLIFORUM CAMPUS, LEON||18:52|
|Saturday 18th MARCH||LOCAL TIME|
|STUDIO FROM THE START OF SS11 IBARILLA||08:00|
|SS11 – IBARILLA 1||08:13|
|SS12 – EL MOSQUITO 1||09:02|
|SS13 – DERRAMADERO 1 TV LIVE WF2||10:00|
|SS14 – LAS DUNAS SUPERSPECIAL 2||11:10|
|THE SERVICE PARK, POLIFORUM CAMPUS, LEON||12:15|
|SS15 – IBARILLA 2||14:06|
|SS16 – EL MOSQUITO 2||14:58|
|SS17 – DERRAMADERO 2 TV LIVE WF3||16:00|
|SS18 – LAS DUNAS SUPERSPECIAL 3||17:15|
|STUDIO FROM SS19 ROCK & RALLY||18:00|
|SS19 – DISTRITO LEON MX ROCK & RALLY SSS2||18:08|
|SERVICE E FROM THE SERVICE PARK, POLIFORUM CAMPUS, LEON||18:50|
|Sunday 19th MARCH||LOCAL TIME|
|STUDIO FROM LAS DUNAS SS20||08:00|
|SS20 – LAS DUNAS SUPERSPECIAL 4||08:05|
|STUDIO FROM THE END OF STAGE 20 LAS DUNAS||09:00|
|SS21 – OTATES||09:16|
|SS22 – SAN DIEGO||10:24|
|STUDIO FROM THE SERVICE PARK, POLIFORUM CAMPUS, LEON||11:11|
|SS23 – EL BRINCO WOLF POWER STAGE TV LIVE WF4||12:00|
|WRAP UP SHOW FROM EL BRINCO JUMP PODIUM AREA||13:30|
Sums it up.
Rally Mexico 2023 is a very special event in the FIA World Rally Championship, with its own unique atmosphere and authentic features. There is no harm to suggest, but nothing guarantees the assumpsit will succeed.
Therefore, the best way to experience Rally Mexico 2023 is to turn off the clock alarms, prepare a cup of chocolate and switch to the livestream to watch the picturesque fixture where rally cars are flying over the colorful areas near the Leon. That is our one and only plan for a rally racing weekend. We suggest you follow our example.