A roller coaster ride in Mexico
Team Spain struggles during the afternoon stages but remains the leading country Day One at Mexico's Rally of Nations saw a number of setbacks for the Spanish teams which were leading the event when the midpoint was reached. Then unexpected
happenings appeared during the afternoon following the Poliforum service break.
Dani Sola had a puncture while Xavi Pons' car began to leak oil after a crash; they fell back to 5th and 8th places respectively. However, Spain remains the leading country on points.
Austrian Andreas Aigner took advantage of the Spanish teams' problems and took over the lead, followed by fellow countryman Manfred Stohl 31.1 seconds behind. Stohl had problems during the super special stage celebrated at Leon's Autodromo race circuit, allowing Aigner to remain in the lead at the end of Day One. This places Austria in third place overall.
Frenchmen Didier Auriol and Brice Tirabassi also leapt ahead after the morning stages, reaching third and fourth positions respectively, although a distant 55.7 seconds and 1:16.3 behind leader Aigner. After today's performances, France is the second-placed nation overall.
Toni Gardemeister had a problem with his steering system which prevented him from continuing. It was a continutaion of a terrible day for Team Finland after Rovanpera had to withdraw from the competition before starting the first stage.
German driver Mark Wallenwein has been quietly but steadily climbing up the leaderboard and is now in sixth place, ahead of Swede Per Gunnar Andersson who was penalized 30 seconds for arriving three minutes late to the start of SS4.
Rodrigo Salgado, now in ninth position, has become the best Mexican driver in the Rally of Nations, 3:31.7 minutes behind leader Aigner. Current Mexican champion Rodrigo Ordonez completes the top ten list after recovering from his morning problems.
Ricardo Trivino, who at one point was in sixth position overall, broke his radiator and turbo cooler after leaping into the air on the famous Corona Rally jump and abandoned the race, but will gett back into the event thanks to the SupeRally system.
Spain remains in the lead of this competition of nations with 448.5 points; France is second with 425.5 points and Austria third with 391. Trailing behind are Germany and Sweden, completing the top five nations list at the conclusion of Day One.