|It's gravel racing at its best, the 2007 Corona Rally Mexico, set to start in Guanajuato March 9, and event that is as much fun for the spectators as it it for the drivers.
Over the last four years, rallying’s increase in popularity in México has been meteoric. From the humble beginnings of Rally America to the world status Corona Rally México now hosts each year, Corona Rally officials say they are proud to have contributed to the achievement. It is a fitting testament to the sport that the spectacle it creates continues to deliver results the world over.
In their fourth year in the FIA World Rally Championship, the emphasis of this race is on refining what is a proven formula. In 2006 the rally route had good sporting interest and incorporated more spectator areas with independent access, something that was of paramount importance to the safety plan, and resulted in a welcome increase in spectators.
So far, six registered manufacturers and competitors from 22 countries have signed up for the Corona Rally México, fourth round of the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship.
Reigning World Champions Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena will hope that they can repeat their last year win in México, the first gravel event of the season, and that the rally will be kinder to their Citroën C4 than it was to their Xsara.
Coming to Corona Rally México is much more than simply ‘coming to a rally’; there is something for everyone, from the hardened rally fan to the intrigued onlooker and holidaymaker.
México is a diverse nation crammed with opposing identities; heavenly forests, desert terrain, snow-capped volcanoes, ancient ruins and time-warped colonial towns, glitzy resorts, oxygen-sapping mountains and steamy jungles awash with exotic flora and fauna. White sands and crystal clear waters have also made it a holiday Mecca but in essence, much of Mexico remains unchanged since the days of the 16th century conquerors. World’s collide in this North American country; its past is still very much part of its present-day allure and Mexico’s identity is so potent that it transforms everyday experiences.
Race officials say this year they intend to build on those strengths, capitalizing on the knowledge they have gained over the years to provide competitors with a great sporting challenge, and the ever-increasing fan base with the opportunity to witness the action in a variety of safe but spectacular areas.
The route for the 2007 Corona Rally México has been revised and redrawn to allow for an even more compact route for a total of 850 kilometres. The stages remain the same as in past years however. The 2004 favorite Alfaro-Nuevo Valle returns as the newly completed Silao-San Felipe Highway, which allows for a quick liaison to the Ortega stage and a reduction of 100 kilometers of road section.
In addition to racing, event organizers have made arrangements to erect a huige outdoor stage, a move that will not only bring rallying to the doorstep of the local inhabitants, but also make the sport accessible to the growing number of spectators. It will be hosted by live music, announcement and contests at the León Race Track on, and also be run as the closing stage and grand finale of Corona Rally México 2007. All runnings will be held at daylight.