Mexico’s Multiple Highs To Deliver Ultra Challenge

Mexico’s Multiple Highs To Deliver Ultra Challenge

A number of highs related to next week’s Rally Guanajuato Mexico will see the third round of the FIA World Rally Championship provide a huge challenge for DMACK as the series returns to gravel for the first time since September.

High altitudes, high ambient temperatures and high stage distances will all contribute to what’s expected to be one of the toughest editions of this event. However, the challenge is set to peak on the final day when the DMACK World Rally Team tackles a huge 80km stage – the longest test in WRC for over 30 years.

After the asphalt of Monte Carlo and snow of Sweden, Mexico hosts the third different surface in as many events. The stages around Leon are literally the pinnacle of the championship – reaching the highest point of the season at 2737m.

And it’s a compact route, with nearly 40% of the entire distance comprising competitive stages. But the mix of loose and abrasive surfaces, together with high speeds, delivers a real test for tyres and forces drivers and teams to manage their allocation effectively.

DMACK has nominated its DMG+2 tyre, which features some minor revisions from 2015, in the hard S3A compound to provide a mix of performance and durability. The hard compound means tread blocks are stiffer, offering greater high-speed stability and improved durability in the energy-soaking temperatures and rough gravel roads.

Generally punctures are not a huge issue in Mexico and DMACK’s gravel tyre must offer enough protection to give drivers the confidence to carry just one spare and keep weight to a minimum.

Tyre management in Mexico means checking and adjusting tyre pressures, which can rise and fall with altitude changes, and complex tyre changes during each loop of stages to ensure the best possible performance on the long speed tests.

The DMACK World Rally Team crew of Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder will be allowed a maximum of 28 tyres fitted to their M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC next week. The Estonian pair were the stars of last year’s event after submerging their Fiesta in a lake on the opening day and then returning, after a mechanical miracle from M-Sport, to finish the rally.

But 2015 is firmly in the past and Tänak will be aiming to improve on his fifth place in Sweden two weeks ago to consolidate his championship challenge and bolster DMACK’s fifth position in the manufacturer series.

Rally Mexico is renowned for the energetic ceremonial start in the stunningly colourful town of Guanajuato – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Crowds flock from afar to watch the opening street stage running through tunnels under the town on Thursday evening.

The high-action route then switches to the dirt roads traversing the Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanjuato mountains. Friday features two passes over the 54.21km El Chocolate test while Saturday boasts two runs through Otates at 42.62km. However, both days are eclipsed by the mammoth Guanajuato test, which could see a final day sting in the tail while also testing drivers’ stamina and physical endurance.

Crews will finish back at the Leon Rally Campus on Sunday afternoon after 21 stages covering 399.71km.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “Once again the Rally Mexico organisers have put together an itinerary which will really test tyres and drivers. We’ve got some long distances between tyre changes so a clever strategy to manage tyre wear will be crucial. However, we have good experience from this event and we’re confident again in our products.”

Ott Tänak said: “It’s really nice to be going to Mexico, it’s an event I enjoy and the atmosphere and energy, especially at the start, is something really special. The rally is always a big challenge. It’s the first hot rally of the season and every day has got some very long stages – this is a challenge that I enjoy. The final day will be something special and I’m looking forward to it a lot.”

2016-02-26

Mexico’s Multiple Highs To Deliver Ultra Challenge
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