Rally Mexico adds stage around Bond film venue in Mexico City

This year's Rally Mexico will include a stage in Zocalo, Mexico City's main square - the venue for the opening sequence of the last James Bond film Spectre

Rally Mexico adds stage around Bond film venue in Mexico City

The plan to take the World Rally Championship's North American event 250 miles south to the nation's capital is something the organisers have been working on for years.

Rally director Patrick Suberville was present at last week's Monte Carlo Rally, where he received complete backing for the route change from the WRC manufacturers.

"We're really excited about this," Suberville told Autosport.

"It's a really big deal for us.

"Taking Rally Mexico to Mexico City will raise the profile enormously, it will open up the sport to a whole new bunch of fans."

An all-asphalt stage, just over a mile in length, will run around the square.

The 57,600-square metre site is expected to host 250,000 fans when World Rally Cars arrive there for the first time on Thursday March 9.

"Obviously, the logistics of this stage have been pretty intense, but we have worked with the FIA, WRC Promoter and the teams and we have agreement from everybody," said Suberville.

"I think we can all see what a real opportunity we have here - especially with Zocalo being so familiar after the start of Spectre.

"We like to do things differently in Mexico and this is certainly quote different!

"Essentially what we're going to do is take the incredible atmosphere from the traditional opening night stages in Guanajuato and move it to Mexico City."

Waivers have been granted for the third round of this year's series to shift shakedown to Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday morning, the cars will be taken by transporter down to Mexico City for a stage that starts at 1830 local time.

The crews and teams will fly back to Leon via two chartered planes on Thursday night while the cars come back by road on transporters.

Rally Mexico has often innovated with its route, last year running the first 50-mile stage since 1986.

Though that has been dropped for 2017, Suberville has refused to rule out reviving it in the future.

AUTOSPORT SAYS...

Before we even got to the stages, Rally Mexico gave us an indoor service park.

In terms of roads, it was the highest modern-day World Rally Championship round, then the one with the most compact route, the first subterranean competition and last year it delivered the first 50-mile special stage in 30 years.

If it's revolution you want, come to Rally Mexico.

When this event first arrived in the world championship in 2004, it served its time, slowly built its reputation for great roads and excellent organisation.

Once it found its feet and cemented its place on the calendar then Suberville and his team began to think outside the box.

Such thinking brought us rally cars competing underground - through Guanajuato's series of tunnels - for the first time and then last year's astonishing 50-miler, which took Sebastien Ogier 48 minutes to complete, but didn't provide a single positional change in the final-day top 10.

Rally Mexico won't be the first event to try a long-distance trip to a superspecial.

Rally Argentina did the same thing in 2007, running a stage in the River Plate's football stadium on the Thursday evening.

Unfortunately for the South Americans, the weather closed in, grounding some flights returning the teams from Buenos Aires to Cordoba and seven of the following day's eight stages had to be cancelled to get people back in time.

Having witnessed Rally Mexico's growing strength and confidence, this latest venture is certain to provide the next step for an event that's increasingly recognised as the pacesetter for WRC innovation.

shares
comments
Jari-Matti Latvala denies falling out with Sebastien Ogier at VW

Previous article

Jari-Matti Latvala denies falling out with Sebastien Ogier at VW

Next article

Citroen's WRC return: A bad start, or a bad 2017 ahead?

Citroen's WRC return: A bad start, or a bad 2017 ahead?
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021