WRC Rally Mexico entrants carry out pre-event test session
RALLY GUANAJUATO BICENTENARIO, March 4th-7th, 2010
2010 FIA World Rally Championship, round 2
For immediate release
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
MEXICAN ENTRANTS CARRY OUT PRE-EVENT TEST SESSION
· Japan’s Toshi Arai rolls during pre-event test
· Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah wheels out new Skoda
LEÓN (Mexico): The thirty-five crews entered in the 2010 Rally Guanajuato Bicentenario carried out the first of their two days of monitored reconnaissance of the gravel special stages in the Guanajuato region of Mexico on Tuesday.
The second round of the FIA World Rally Championship will officially get underway on Thursday evening with a ceremonial start in Guanajuato, but there was drama even before the recce began for Japan’s Toshi Arai and his new British co-driver Daniel Barritt.
The pair were carrying out a test with their Subaru Impreza and completed one pass of the test stage – at an altitude of around 2000 metres above sea level – without any problems.
Co-driver Barritt later complained that there had been some interference in the intercom system, but the Japanese launched the Subaru into a high-speed roll on the second pass through the test stage. Damage was extensive and the crew abandoned the test session to allow team mechanics to find a local body shop to affect emergency repairs. Arai is expected to start the rally on schedule.
The test stage also marked a couple firsts for other drivers taking part in the Mexican round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Former Champ Car racer Michel Jourdain is taking part in his first ever gravel rally with Spanish co-driver Oscar Sanchez in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
The Mexican thoroughly enjoyed his opening kilometres running at speed through the demanding gravel stage, although Jourdain will find speeds of 100km/h a far cry from the high-speed banked race circuits he adorned during an illustrious career in CART racing.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah began the 2010 season with a fine second overall in the Dakar Rally at the wheel of a Volkswagen Race Touareg and an outright victory in the Qatar International Rally with a Ford Fiesta S2000.
He had originally intended to tackle Rally Mexico in the Ford, but Volkswagen management preferred that the contracted Qatari driver used a product from the Volkswagen Group stable and the six-time FIA Middle East Rally Champion and former FIA Production World Rally Champion finalised an agreement to drive a Skoda Fabia S2000 for the first time – a car he had looked at running before the season started in any case.
“The new car feels strong, stable and has plenty of power,” enthused the Qatari after the first test on Monday.
Crews will be permitted to complete their reconnaissance of the 22 gravel special stages on Wednesday, before the official shakedown and pre-event press conference take place on Thursday.
For further media information:
Rally Guanajuato Bicentenario Media Centre, Poliforum Expo Centre, León, Mexico, Tel: + 52 (477) 7714867 or + 52 (477) 7114828, E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org