|2005 FIA Junior World Rally Championship
Round 2 - Rally Mexico (10-13 March)
Friday 11 March 2005 - Leg 1
WILKS AND SUZUKI TAME THE WILDS OF MEXICO!
Suzuki driver Guy Wilks is leading the Junior World Rally Championship
classification after a stunning drive on the opening day of the Rally
Mexico, round two of the series. His Monster Sport Europe team mate,
P-G Andersson, ends the day in second place - making it a spectacular
one-two for Suzuki!
Strong performance of Guy Wilks on the Mexican roads
Leg one of the Rally Mexico consisted of six gravel stages split
into two loops of three. The weather was extremely dry and warm, resulting
in a hard surface that was at times more reminiscent of an asphalt
rally! The polished roads were extremely slippery, and tyre wear was
a key issue. The stages contained a wide variety of speeds and corners,
while the enthusiastic Mexican fans turned out in their thousands to
witness a piece of the action.
Guy took the lead on the opening stage, and set one but every fastest
time in the class to open up a 43,4-second advantage at the end of
the first day. He had no problems at all, apart from an overshoot on
SS3 that forced him to stop and reverse back onto the road. A watersplash
in the morning damaged his car's bodywork slightly, but otherwise his
Ignis was a hundred percent reliable.
Englishman said: "It's been a perfect day really - apart from
the overshoot on SS3 nothing unexpected happened. That is not to say
that it has been easy though: the surfaces are incredibly slippery
and there is a constant risk of sliding off. I've never done this rally
before, but everybody who has says it is much more difficult than last
year. I've been pushing quite hard, but at the same time you cannot
go mad otherwise you will wreck the tyres. I would describe my pace
as fast, but without taking risks."
Reigning Junior World Champion P-G was also straight on the pace,
and maintained second in class from start to finish. The Swede had
no problems, apart from a close encounter with a retired World Rally
Car on SS2.
reported: "At the very end of the stage I slid wide on a corner,
where a World Rally Car that had crashed earlier was parked. We slid
closer and closer and I was convinced we were going to hit it. Luckily
we missed it by millimetres! That was our biggest moment, but we've
had lots of little moments all the time today. The surface is so tricky
and inconsistent that we are getting both understeer and oversteer.
But this is a valuable opportunity for us to score more points, so
we have to keep concentrated and get a good safe finish."
Sport Europe Team Manager Risto Laine commented: "It's been
very strange so far as this is a rally with quite a lot of pressure.
Because the other cars will be a long way behind us, we can only lose
this rally rather than win it. At the same time there is no point in
telling the drivers to slow down, because then they will lose concentration
and that is how mistakes happen. The surfaces are incredibly difficult
to drive on because the level of grip is constantly changing. But our
drivers know what they have to do."
Pavel Valousek, driving an Ignis Super 1600 run by Czech team JM
Engineering, unfortunately went off the road on SS1 and was not able
to complete the leg. However, his car was recovered to the service
park in Leon, and the Czech is scheduled to re-join the rally tomorrow
thanks to the new re-start rules.
Leg two of the Rally Mexico gets underway at 0830 tomorrow (CET -7h),
and takes in six more special stages, once again split into two loops
of three. Competitors will rack up another gruelling 146 competitive
kilometres, before returning to Parc Ferme in Leon at 19:24. The weather
is expected to remain dry and sunny.
1 Guy Wilks (Suzuki Ignis) 1h25m55.6s
2 P-G Andersson (Suzuki Ignis) +43.4s
*no remaining runners finished leg one