Auriol out after stunning Rally of Nations start

The Frenchman is forced out with an engine problem after thrilling thousands of fans at the Guanajuato start

Auriol RoN

Former World Rally Champion Didier Auriol has retired from the Rally of Nations Guanajuato following the second superspecial in Guanajuato.

The Frenchman completed the opening test but his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X ran sick in the second pass of the hugely popular Guanajuato street stage, forcing him to pull over.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “We will keep smiling, but I think it’s finished. I don’t think we will take the start tomorrow (Saturday) morning – something was burning in the engine, we don’t know what yet.”

Forced to fly home for family reasons ahead of the start of the 2022 Rally of Nations, the 1994 title holder was disappointed still not to have turned a wheel on the Méxican gravel.

“We come here to promote the race and the country,” he said. “It’s a very nice rally, with nice stages and we came to enjoy ourselves with the people. OK, it’s a rally, it’s how it is. What can we do?”

Auriol’s departure leaves eight-time world champion co-driver Julien Ingrassia flying the lone French flag. Ingrassia completed the two stages in an impressive 12th place aboard his Mitsubishi.

Winner of the event two years ago, Mads Østberg (Škoda Fabia Rally2) leads after SS2 with Mexico TV4 leading the Rally of Nations.