Talking tyres, tests and routes
BP-Ford will use BFGoodrich's g-Force gravel tyres next weekend in Mexico. The teams are only allowed to nominate one tread pattern this year. The pattern is relatively compact to ensure a maximum amount of rubber is in contact with the ground
for the best possible grip and traction.
The grooves can be hand cut to open them if there is a lot of loose gravel on the road surface or if the tracks become muddy. The tyres will be available in medium and hard compounds.
Meanwhile, the team completed an eight-day test this week on both asphalt and gravel in northern Spain. It began on asphalt near Vic with Hirvonen driving for two days and Grönholm one, concentrating on set-up specification for the forthcoming asphalt rallies in Spain and Corsica. After a two-day rebuild the team moved west for five days of gravel, two for Hirvonen and three for Grönholm.
The privately run Stobart-VK-M-Sport Ford Rally Team has entered two 2004-specification Focus RS WRCs. Britain's Matthew Wilson / Michael Orr and Argentines Luis Perez Companc / Jose Maria Volta will be the drivers, the first time Perez Companc has been nominated for points. Irish crew Gareth MacHale / Paul Nagle will drive a privately-entered similar car.
The route is virtually identical to 2005. At 1002.47km it is one of the most compact rallies of the year, with 36 per cent of the route competitive, and it never strays more than 50km from rally headquarters in León, 400km north of Mexico City. It is the highest round in the series, with the opening day's Guanajuato stage climbing through cacti-filled mountains to a breathtaking 2737 metres.
The major innovation is the introduction of a super special stage on the edge of León which will be run in darkness at the end of the opening two legs before hosting the finale on Sunday morning. The rally begins on Thursday evening with a fiesta-like ceremonial start in Guanajuato, which last year drew more than 25,000 fans.
The town is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, famed for its beauty and unique underground tunnel network. All the action is located north and east of León, the opening two legs comprising two identical loops of three tests before the super special stage. There are 17 tests in total covering 359.54km.
Ford World Rally Team