Rally Mexico will drop its 50-mile WRC stage for 2017

The future of long-distance stages in the World Rally Championship looks bleak after Rally Mexico's record-breaking 50-mile test failed to inspire the series promoter

Rally Mexico will drop its 50-mile WRC stage for 2017

Last Sunday's 50-mile Guanajuato stage was the longest on a sprint-style WRC event (excluding African marathons such as the Ivory Coast or Safari) since the 1986 Tour of Corsica.

But that record will stand for some time as Rally Mexico will not run that route again in 2017.

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Rally Mexico director Patrick Suberville said: "We won't be doing this again. Definitely not.

"I'm really happy that we tried it and I had full confidence in the team that they would be able to do it, but not again.

"The important thing for us was that it appeared seamless to people on the outside. We achieved that."

The extent of the logistics involved in such a long stage is understood to be the reason why the 50-mile stage will be a one-off.

For organisational purposes, Guanajuato was split into three, with three stage commanders and three sets of safety cars running at the start, middle and finish.

"We had more safety cars on that stage than we had rally cars!" joked Suberville.

WRC promoter Oliver Ciesla was pleased to see the back of the long stage.

"From the promoter's point of view an 80km stage is too long and doesn't add any sporting or commercial value and nor does it make the competition more interesting," he said.

"In fact, the opposite seems the case - it's even questionable whether this long stage motivates the drivers to go flat-out or look to bring the car to the finish."

On the future of long stages, Ciesla added: "We do not encourage rallies at all to run stages longer than 50 or 60km.

"We do not see the added value; endurance is sufficiently covered in the WRC as it is."

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Did part of rallying die in Mexico?
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