Stohl triumphant in the driver competition
Sunday's final two stages saw the Spanish team confirm the lead it had built up over the three days of Mexico's Rally of Nations to be finally proclaimed winners. Xevi Pons and Dani Sola were victorious in 10 of the rally's 18 stages,
accumulating a total of 1,067.5 points.
"It was a great teamwork," Pons reported. "There were a few mistakes that didn't really affect us, but in general I'm leaving happy to have been in Mexico. We did a great job."
"We're really happy to have won the Rally of Nations, that was the objective," stated a satisfied Sola. "We feel very good to be in a country where they have always treated us well, and we just want to come back as soon as possible."
The Spaniards were followed in second place by Austrians Manfred Stohl and Andreas Aigner, who together won on four occasions. At the close of the competition, 128 points separated the two countries.
The last place on the podium was taken by France led by Didier Auriol who, with the help of Brice Tirabassi, managed the fastest time on only one of the stages.
"I've been rallying for years and I loved this rally," Auriol stated. "I'm happy about everything and I hope to come back."
Austrian driver Stohl has no reason to feel defeated, however: he was the fastest competitor and wins the driver competition with a total running time of 2'57:28.7, just 14.4 seconds quicker than his fellow countryman Aigner.
"The engine managed to stand the final part, which was the best thing that could've happened to us today," said Stohl. "We won the individual competition, but as a team we were closely behind Spain. I can't wait to come back."
The drivers and teams put on quite a show for the thousands of spectators who gathered on the Guanajuato sierra and at Leon's racetrack where the closing super special stage took place. The prize-giving and closing ceremony was held at the Foro del Lago, where the enthusiastic rally fans came to say goodbye to the competitors.
This first edition of the Rally of Nations was enjoyed by all those who took part, all of whom expressed their admiration for this new format, one which will undoubtedly draw many more competitors in the future.
The event confirmed the enormous popularity of the state of Guanajuato's roads as a venue for rallies, having brought together major names from the rallying world as can be seen from its all-star line-up which also included P-G Andersson, Toni Gardemeiseter, and Patrik Sandell among others.