Today’s final two stages saw the Spanish team confirm the lead it had built up over the three days of the Rally Corona México, Rally of Nations, to be finally proclaimed winners. Xevi Pons and Dani Solà were victorious in ten of the rally’s eighteen stages, accumulating a total of 1,067.5 points, 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. Spain,
therefore, takes away the 50,000-dollar first prize.
Austrian driver Stohl has no reason to feel defeated, however, his being the fastest individual driver with a winning total time of 2’57:28.7 for the 18 stages, just 14.4 seconds faster than his fellow countryman Aigner. Stohl, meanwhile, walks away with 15,000 dollars for being the fastest driver on each day of the competition.
The final order of the first ten places remained unchanged from yesterday, the drivers setting out today to hold on to their positions, though still putting on quite a show for the hundreds of fans who gathered on the Guanajuato sierra, and at León’s racetrack, where the Scotiabank Super Special stage took place. The prize-giving and closing ceremony took place, as it does
every year, at the Foro del Lago, where 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 first edition of this event confirms the enormous popularity of the state of Guanajuato’s roads as a venue for rallies, it having brought together major names
from the rallying world, as can be seen from its line-up.
Rally of Nations’ unofficial positions
The Corona Rally México in it’s edition Rally of Nations 2009 got off to a colorful start in the city of Guanajuato, to the sound of mariachis, and folk music that set many a foot tapping, together with many other expressions of Mexican culture. Guanajuato, a World Heritage town, threw quite a bash to welcome the 45 crews who will be fighting for first place tomorrow, when the race is on.
The main ceremonial start for this edition took place in front of both the Juárez Theatre and the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, where more than 30,000 people gathered to give rally participants a typically warm Mexican welcome, and to wish them good luck in the race.
The icing on the cake was an appearance by 2003 WRC champion, the Norwegian Petter Solberg, who rode in on a motorcycle to surprise the crowd, getting the Mexican feeling.
The first crew to get on the podium to receive the applause of the audience was that made up of one of the legends in world rally events, the Frenchman Didier Auriol, together with Denis Giraudet, who has been his co-driver during a great part of his history in the sport.
They were the first major names to drive onto the podium in front of the Juarez Theatre, followed by international figures such as the Finns, Harri Rovanperä and Toni Gardemeister; the Spaniards Dani Sola and Xavi Pons; the Swede Per-Gunar Andersson; the Austrian Manfred Stohl and his female co-driver Ilka Minor, as well as promising newcomer, Andreas Aigner. The Mexican teams were well represented by the current champion in Production Car group, Rodrigo Ordoñez, as well as Ricardo Triviño a driver who has competed in several world championships.