Three years ago, the World Rally Championship couldn’t wait to get out of México. The rally ended a day early and the service park emptied in record time as the majority of folk literally ran back to Europe.
That was, of course, nothing to do with México. It was everything to do with COVID-19.
When the WRC landed into León in 2020, the global pandemic story was starting to seriously build. Standing in the airport in Guanajuato, Motorsport Italia mechanics were told they might not be allowed back into Italy.
Within days, that speculation had spread; airlines were going to ground planes, more national borders would be shut and the death toll from coronavirus was starting to go through the gears.
They were, indeed, worrying times. Hence Sunday was canned in favor of spending the day on logistics to get home.
What happened in 2020 hasn’t been forgotten by Rally México. It’s for that reason that the route this week has barely changed since the last time the WRC was in town.
“So many things have changed since 2020,” rally manager Gilles Spitalier told DirtFish. “The world has changed. But we feel in many ways the world has come in a full circle now, we feel we are back to normal.
“We take the same route as a reminder that we couldn’t finish the rally [in 2020] and we have to finish that one. We have to make it right.
“It’s like our own reminder of what happened. We cut Sunday, but really nobody was focused on the rally on Saturday – everybody was watching their phones with news of how quickly the pandemic was closing in.
“This will close the circle.”