Rally of Nations Guanajuato certainly made an impact. With its vibrant atmosphere, challenging stages and unbelievable facilities, it’s got the rallying community talking and questioning why Mexico is no longer on the World Rally Championship calendar.
But it wasn’t just the fans who enjoyed the event. The drivers absolutely loved it too.
Yes, the stages were tough on the cars, and the searing heat didn’t help matters. But the drivers didn’t really care about that, for they were coming into service at the end of the rally with a big grin on their face, wanting to do it all over again.
“It’s been a tough challenge in fairness, but we’ve had a great time,” M-Sport director Matthew Wilson told DirtFish. “It’s been so nice to be back here.
“Once I stopped driving full-time I never imagined coming back and doing this rally. So it’s a real credit to the organizers, to put this event on when they don’t have a WRC slot.
“To get some of the names they’ve got here, some of the legends and sadly obviously Didier [Auriol] couldn’t compete, but Didier, Harri Rovanperä, obviously then you’ve got Mads [Østberg] and Adrien [Fourmaux] as well.
“They’ve done a fantastic job to really put an event on and get all these people here. So yeah, you have to say they definitely deserve their slot back in the WRC.”
It wasn’t just Wilson singing the praises of the organizers. Adrien Fourmaux, the event’s only current WRC driver, was also impressed and would be keen to tackle the stages for world championship points in the future.
“I think it will be nice if we can have this type of event in the championship because yeah, it’s definitely a good event,” he said.
“Especially for the mechanics it’s difficult, for the drivers it’s difficult because of altitude etc, so it’s really good. A great challenge.”
It’s fair to say that the rally has captured the imagination of rallying’s latest crop of drivers, and it would no doubt give many other WRC events a run for their money in terms of the stages, facilities and management.
But should it come as a surprise? For some it might, but for Harri Rovanperä it doesn’t.
Unlike many other events worldwide, the management structure for Rally Mexico has remained consistent, and Rovanperä believes this is the key to its success.
When it was suggested to Rovanperä that the Rally of Nations organizer had done a great job, he said: “Yeah, that is true and it’s the same organizational group staying 20 years.
“And that is one of the main things why that rally is so good. Same people working all the time.”
In a time where the world is full of instability, a stable organization consistently putting on an impressive event is a pretty irresistable proposition.