With Rally México absent from the World Rally Championship calendar, the organizer has instead arranged a contest that will crown the fastest nation in rallying – while also reminding the world why México should be back on the calendar in 2023.
There are 10 nations represented, plus two continental teams featuring drivers from different nations, piloting a range of vehicles from FIA-homolgated Rally2s to ARA-spec Subarus – and there’s even a Volkswagen Polo with Mistubishi Lancer Evo IX running gear.
Unlike a standard rally where the fastest cumulative time wins the event, on Rally of Nations Guanajuato crews score points for their position on each stage. The nation with the most points at the end of the event wins – and there’s double points on offer for the powerstage, so look out for some final stage heroics.
A wide variety of equipment on the entry list means a performance balancing factor is in effect to try and score the differing levels of vehicle fairly.
Those in Open 4WD and Group 1 cars will have their times increased, Rally2s will keep theirs as originally set and those in slower cars will benefit from a multiplier under 1.0 to bring them closer in the standings to those in more powerful machinery for calculating stage points.
Here’s who’ll be competing on this weekend’s unique event:
Seven European nations are represented at Rally of Nations Guanajuato, with Norway given first seed with its pairing of Mads Østberg and Eyvind Brynildsen. Østberg will drive a Škoda Fabia R5 for just the second time following his maiden appearance on the Qatar Rally earlier this year.
Spain, which won the last Rally of Nations back in 2009 with Xavier Pons and Dani Solà, is back to defend its crown. This time around 2017 Junior WRC champion Nil Solans and last year’s ERC3 runner-up Pep Bassas are the drivers.
Favorites going into the event though will surely be France. With current M-Sport WRC driver Adrien Fourmaux teaming up alongside 1994 world champion Didier Auriol – who competed in the last Rally of Nations back in 2009 – they’ve got a formidable lineup.
The other WRC rally winner on the entry list is Harri Rovanperä, who is joined in Finland’s team by Roope Korhonen.
Asia & The Americas
Japan has a proper heavyweight leading its lineup in Hiroki Arai. Previously a member of the Toyota Gazoo Racing young driver program, Arai topped the standings in a disrupted Japanese national championship in 2020 and continues to make occasional appearances in the WRC support categories. But this will be his first time competing in Mexico – and the same goes for his team-mate Hirotaka Ishii.
There’s also several teams from the Americas: American Rally Association regular Dave Carapetyan is paired up with Mike Glover to represent the USA, while there’s an Ecuadorian contingent and a wider Latin America team, composed of Colombian and Mexican crews.
The home heroes
As you’d expect, a Rally of Nations event held in Mexico has an army of Mexican drivers waving the tricolor flag.
Race of Champions winner and WRC2 regular Benito Guerra Jr leads the line for the home nation in his Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, paired up with his father Guerra Sr in a Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.
In total there’s 13 two-car teams representing the home nation: Ricardo Cordero, the reigning NACAM and Mexican champion will be one to look out for in the second Mexican team. So too will Pancho Name in team four, who’s taken on the WRC’s now-retired two-wheel-drive category in the past.
Friday, April 1
SS1 Street Stage Guanajuato 1 (0.68 miles) 2008
SS2 Street Stage Guanajuato 2 (0.68 miles) 2138
Saturday, April 2
SS3 Guanajuatito 1 (14 miles) 0738
SS4 Otates 1 (14.03 miles) 0821
SS5 Los Tepetates 1 (1.08 miles) 0924
SS6 Guanajuatito 2 (14 miles) 1142
SS7 Otates 2 (14.03 miles) 1225
SS8 Guanajuatito 3 (14 miles) 1543
SS9 Otates 3 (14.03 miles) 1626
SS10 Autódromo de León 1 (1.3 miles) 1751
SS11 Autódromo de León 2 (1.3 miles) 1756
Sunday, April 3
SS12 Alfaro 1 (12.65 miles) 0823
SS13 El Brinco 1 (13.56 miles) 0906
SS14 Los Tepetates 2 (1.08 miles) 0959
SS15 Alfaro 2 (12.65 miles) 1217
SS16 El Brinco 2 (13.56 miles) 1309 [powerstage]
Total competitive distance: 142.69 miles