Toyota City, Japan, Mar 10, 2023 – (JCN Newswire via SEAPRWire.com) – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team will take on new challenges with its GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID contender when Rally Mexico makes a much-anticipated return for round three of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship season.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team will take on new challenges with its GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID contender when Rally Mexico makes a much-anticipated return for round three of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship season.
This will be the championship’s first visit to Mexico and to the American continent since 2020. As well as being the first gravel round of the season, with ambient temperatures as high as 30degC providing a stark contrast to the winter conditions of Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden, the event is set to provide a major new test for the latest generation of Rally1 cars that were introduced last year.
In the mountains of the Guanajuato region around the city of Leon, the stages climb to the highest point of the season at more than 2700 metres above sea level. At such high altitude, the thinner air can reduce the power of internal combustion engines by as much as 20 per cent. The additional 100kW boost of electric power provided by the Rally1 cars’ hybrid units could therefore prove particularly valuable, but the reduced air available for cooling combined with the rough gravel roads will pose a tough test for reliability as always. An added complication is that testing outside of Europe is prohibited, with TGR-WRT recently heading to southern Spain to try and simulate the likely conditions as best as possible.
The team will hope to repeat the breakthrough first Rally Mexico victory it achieved on its last visit three years ago with Sebastien Ogier. The Frenchman has six previous wins in total in Mexico — a joint record — including in each of the WRC’s last three visits and will return to the team’s line-up to make his second start of 2023, following his victory on Rallye Monte-Carlo in January. He joins the team’s full-season drivers Kalle Rovanpera and Elfyn Evans in being nominated to score manufacturers’ points, with Takamoto Katsuta making his Mexican debut in a fourth car with the support of the TGR WRC Challenge Program.
The rally takes place around 400 kilometres northwest of the capital Mexico City, and the always-enthusiastic local fans are sure to be out in force for the popular opening stage in the historic city of Guanajuato on Thursday night, when each driver will do two runs through the cobbled streets and old mining tunnels.
A repeated loop of three stages in the hills above Guanajuato on Friday begins with the familiar El Chocolate test. The day concludes with two super special stages on the way back to the service park in Leon, including the new Las Dunas test that will be driven four times across the weekend. Saturday focuses on the Sierra de Lobos mountains when another loop of three full-length stages will be run twice. Sunday’s finale features four different stages, with Las Dunas followed by the longest test of the weekend: the 35.39 kilometres of Otates. The last two stages feature sections already driven twice in Saturday’s Derramadero test, with the rally-ending Power Stage to finish over El Brinco’s eponymous jump.
For more information, visit https://toyotagazooracing.com/wrc/release/2023/rd03-preview/.
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