The organizers of Rally Mexico have lined up an unprecedented array of star names in the event's rotational year away from the World Rally Championship. The event, which gets underway from Guanajuato, near Leon, this evening, will have a Rally of Nations element which includes 13 different countries vying for team success on the gravel roads of central America.
Determined not to let the profile of Rally Mexico drop before its return to the WRC next season, the organizers have put together an entry list which includes 11 well known names from the WRC – five of whom have collected either outright or Junior titles.
Didier Auriol, the 1994 World Rally Champion, headlines a French team where he is paired with former Junior World Rally champion Brice Tirabassi. Sweden is the only other nation featuring two title winners, with P-G Andersson and Patrik Sandell (both former J-WRC winners) included.
Britain's Niall McShea is the only other driver to boast a world award and the Northern Irishman is paired with former British Rally Championship front-runner Phillip Morrow. All of the drivers will be running in either Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution or Subaru Impreza Group N cars.
Following a ceremonial start in Guanajuato tonight, the main action for the next three days will be centred on a compact route around Leon. The event finishes on Sunday afternoon.