LEÓN (MÉXICO): Finland’s Esapekka Lappi and Kalle Rovanperä shared the joint fastest times of 3min 44.4sec on the shakedown stage that opened proceedings at Rally Guanajuato México on Thursday.
“It was what we were expecting,” said Rovanperä. “It was really slippery on the first pass with not much clean line. I am going to be suffering a lot (road position). It will be hard for us tomorrow. Even though we have Ott in front of us, you still can’t follow the line all the time because it’s one car.”
Lappi added: “It was a good shakedown. We tried a few things on the second and third runs which really didn’t pay off, so on the fourth we went back to the original settings which proved to be good.”
The customary shakedown took place over a 5.52km gravel track at Llano Grande. It was the first action fans of the leading factory machines in the FIA World Rally Championship had seen in Mexico since March 2020.
Ott Tänak was the first driver to tackle a Méxican gravel stage at speed under the new hybrid era and the Estonian acted as the ’road sweeper’.
Not surprisingly, bearing in mind his favourable starting position, Sébastien Ogier set the early benchmark of 3min 50.5sec, only for Dani Sordo to top the times on his first pass with a run of 3min 48.7sec. Nikolay Gryazin was the quickest of the WRC2 drivers by 1.6 seconds from Oliver Solberg until Gus Greensmith carded a faster run of 3min 58.4sec.
Tänak shaved 6.9 seconds off his opening time on the second pass and Rovanperä then hit the front with a run of 3min 47.6sec. But Sordo was on a mission and he regained top spot with a time of 3min 45.8sec from Neuville and the defending World Champion.
Rovanperä’s third pass of 3min 44.4sec earned him the fastest time until Lappi matched his fellow Finn on his fourth run through the cleaning stage.
Attention now focuses on this evening’s spectacular ceremonial start in Guanajuato and a pair of traditional narrow street stages that follow.
2023 Rally Guanajuato México – Shakedown result
Rally1 crews @ 14.00hrs:
- Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 3min 44.4sec
- Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 3min 44.4sec
- Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Vincent Landais (FRA) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 3min 44.7sec
- Dani Sordo (ESP)/Candido Carrera (ESP) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 3min 45.8sec
- Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 3min 46.0sec
- Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 3min 47.3sec
- Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) Ford Puma Rally1 3min 48.6sec
- Pierre Louis Loubet (FRA)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Ford Puma Rally1 3min 49.5sec
- Takamoto Katsuta (JPN)/Aaron Johnston (IRL) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 3min 50.5sec
- Jourdan Serderidis (GRC)/Frederic Miclotte (BEL) Ford Puma Rally1 4min 14.9sec
WRC2 crews (top 5 only) @ 14.00hrs):
- Gus Greensmith (GBR)/Jonas Andersson (SWE) Škoda Fabia RS 3min 58.4sec
- Oliver Solberg (SWE)/Elliott Edmondson (GBR) Škoda Fabia RS 3min 58.5sec
- Adrien Fourmaux (FRA)/Alexandre Coria (FRA) Ford Fiesta MkII 4min 00.3sec
- Nikolay Gryazin (ANA)/Konstantin Aleksandrov (ANA) Škoda Fabia Evo 4min 00.6sec
- Emil Lindholm (FIN)/Reeta Hämäläinen (FIN) Škoda Fabia Evo 4min 04.9sec