AFP

Mexico drops WRC's longest stage for 2017

Mexico drops WRC's longest stage for 2017
By AutoSport

31/12/2016 at 15:37Updated 31/12/2016 at 15:53

Rally Mexico has dropped its epic 50-mile Guanajuato stage - the longest in the World Rally Championship's recent history - from the 2017 route.

The organisers of the March 9-12 event have made numerous alterations to the route for next season.

Despite the loss of Guanajuato, Mexico retains one of the season's most demanding itineraries with two runs at the 33-mile El Chocolate test.

Last year's Guanajuato 50-miler split opinion, with most enjoying the challenge of a stage that took fastest man Sebastien Ogier more than 48 minutes to complete and was the WRC's longest since Corsica in 1986.

But the fact it was run on the final morning when most positions were set meant there was little likelihood of it affecting the result or drivers having to push hard.

Rally director Patrick Suberville told Autosport at the time that the stage would probably be a one-off.

"I'm really happy that we tried it and I had full confidence in the team that they would be able to do it, but not again," he said.

"The important thing for us was that it appeared seamless to people on the outside - we achieved that.

"No, we won't be doing this again. Definitely not."

As well as tweaking a route that includes 244 competitive miles, next year's Rally Mexico has undergone a significant overhaul of spectator provisions.

An organisers' statement said: "We've gone back to the drawing board to rethink the entire spectator experience.

"Half a million people represent a monumental task and we must find better ways to serve them.

"To that end, we've redesigned the information we provide to spectators, both in printed form and on road signs leading to special stages, to make it clearer and easier to understand.

"The access roads have been upgraded, too. We have also modified the route to make it more spectator-friendly."

0
0