It’s rally week!
They’re always fabulous words to utter, but there’s some real excitement behind them this week as the World Rally Championship returns to México for the first time in three years, and to gravel for the first time since early October.
Feed your excitement with this data file, created in conjunction with eWRC-results, ahead of round three of this year’s world championship:
Total 32 crews
10 Priority 1 crews
15 Priority 2 crews (9 WRC2)
2 Priority 3 crews (1 WRC3)
For just the second time in the WRC’s Rally1 era, Kalle Rovanperä’s name doesn’t top the entry list. Instead, that honor goes to Ott Tänak who leads the championship thanks to his victory on last month’s Rally Sweden.
Tänak is part of a three-car M-Sport lineup in México; as always joined by full-time team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet while Jourdan Serderidis joins the fold this weekend too.
Rovanperä has three drivers for company within his Toyota team. Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta pilot GR Yaris Rally1s as they will all season, but the eight-time champion is back. Sébastien Ogier’s presence means Katsuta will be relieved of manufacturer-scoring duty.
Hyundai meanwhile fields a trio of i20 N Rally1s for Thierry Neuville, Esapekka Lappi and Dani Sordo who makes his first start since Monte Carlo.
In fact, the entry Rally1 entry is identical to the season opener back in January.
It’s the battle we’ve all been waiting for. The three drivers that dropped down from Rally1 to Rally2 this year – Oliver Solberg, Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux – all square off against one another this week for the first time in WRC2.
Greensmith’s the highest seed but is the only one of the three not to compete in the WRC yet in 2023. He and Solberg – who jointly leads the championship after a full 28-point haul in Sweden – both drive Toksport Škoda Fabia RS Rally2s while Fourmaux pilots a Ford Fiesta Rally2 for M-Sport, fresh from a victory on last weekend’s Malcolm Wilson Rally.
Fourmaux potentially holds a key advantage as he took on some of the Mexican stages last year on Rally of Nations Guanajuato.
It’s far from a three-horse race this week though. Reigning WRC2 champion Emil Lindholm makes his first trip to México, while his 2022 rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz’s 2023 campaign also gets underway.
In what it turns out was a deliberate move, this year’s route is practically identical to that of the last edition that ran in 2020.
That means the action begins on Thursday evening with Street Stage Guanajuato – one of the most colorful and atmospheric spectator stages of the season.
Friday begins with the famous El Chocolate stage before Ortega and Las Minas complete the opening loop. The afternoon is a straight repeat, plus two superspecial stages.
Saturday’s leg is the longest of the rally with nine stages, kicking off with Ibarilla before the fabulously-named El Mosquito and Derramadero. The Las Dunas superspecial runs twice before Rock & Rally SSS concludes the day.
The final day, uniquely, kicks off with a superspecial – the fourth and final pass of Las Dunas – and there is no repeat mileage across the whole day.
From there, it’s off to the longest stage of the rally – the 22.1-mile Otates. San Diego hosts the penultimate stage before the famous El Brinco brings the curtain down on round three.