LEÓN (MÉXICO): The Estonian duo of Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja led Rally Guanajuato México after a pair of opening blasts around the slippery cobbled streets and through the narrow silver mining tunnels in the historic colonial city of Guanajuato on Thursday evening.
The Ford Puma Rally1 crew were quickest on both stages and take a slender 1.7-second lead over Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen into the night halt in León.
Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm hold third in their Hyundai i20 N Rally1 after two passes through the 1.12km super special stage that was preceded by the traditionally spectacular ceremonial start in front of thousands of passionate rally fans outside the Alhóndiga de Granaditas museum.
Crews will tackle a loop of three tricky gravel stages on Friday morning. Action gets underway with the famed El Chocolate special, which runs for 29.07km and starts at 08.48hrs. Passes through Ortega (15.71km – 09.46hrs) and Las Minas (13.79km – 10.39hrs) precede a return to León for a lunchtime regroup and service at the Rally Campus Service Park.
The three gravel stages are repeated from 14.22hrs, 15.20hrs and 16.13hrs.
Two brand new super specials round off the day’s action, with the first being used on four occasions during rally weekend. The Las Dunes (3.70km) stage uses gravel roads in a nearby quarry and starts at 17.16hrs, while Friday’s timetable concludes with a shortened 1.30km Distrito León MX SSS, starting at 18.16hrs.
2023 Rally Guanajuato México – positions after SS2 (unofficial):
- Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) Ford Puma Rally1 1min 54.2sec
- Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 1min 55.9sec
- Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 1min 56.4sec
- Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 1min 57.0sec
- Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Vincent Landais (FRA) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 1min 57.0sec
- Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 1min 57.5sec
- Dani Sordo (ESP)/Candido Carrera (ESP) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 1min 57.6sec
- Pierre Louis Loubet (FRA)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Ford Puma Rally1 1min 57.9sec
- Takamoto Katsuta (JPN)/Aaron Johnston (IRL) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 1min 58.3sec