Registration for Corona Rally Mexico, Rally of Nations, is now closed. With a total of thirteen countries all represented by great drivers, there will be no clear favorite to scale the podium. Eight European countries and five from the Americas will be in charge of providing the spectacle in Guanajuato, Mexico from July 9th to 12th.
Germany, Austria, Ecuador, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, the United States, Great Britain, Peru, Uruguay, Sweden and Mexico are the countries that will be competing in the Rally of Nations, each represented by two crews, except for Mexico and the United States, which will have six and four crews each, respectively, making up three Mexican teams and two from the US.
One of the most innovative features of this rally is its scoring system, whereby points are tallied for each driver individually, as well as by country. At the end of each day, a points table is complied, so time differences are irrelevant. The points table defines the starting positions for the next day and so on, up to the awards ceremony on Sunday.
The line-up of drivers that have confirmed their presence at Corona Rally Mexico, Rally of Nations edition, is quite a draw. For Finland, there will be Harri Rovanperä and Toni Gardemeister; representing Spain, Dani Sola and Xavi Pons; for Austria, Manfred Stohl and Andreas Aigner; from France, Didier Auriol and Brice Tirabassi; representing Italy, Mario Isola and Stefano Marrini; for Germany, Hermann Gassner Jr. and Mark Wallenwein; from Great Britain, Niall McShea and Phillip Morrow; from Ecuador, Juan Pablo Villota and Camilo Rivera; representing Sweden, Per-Gunnar Andersson and Patrick Sandell; for Uruguay, Felipe Guelfi and Diego Elola; from Peru, Humberto Tijero and Sandro Pestana; for the United States, Matthew Johnson and Kenny Bartram, in team 1 and Patrick Moro and Piotr Wiktorczyk in team 2; and last but not least, representing Mexico, Benito Guerra and Rodrigo Ordoñez in team 1, Ricardo Treviño and Rodrigo Salgado in team 2, and Francisco Name and José Cortés in team 3.
Already brimming with competitiveness and adrenaline, there will be an extra touch to this particular adventure as all the drivers will be competing on equal terms in N4 cars and subject to the same rules, so it will be entirely down to the skill of the crew to define the winner.
With all these attractions, Mexico and the state of Guanajuato are ready to bid a warm welcome to all the competitors, teams, fans and media, to what will undoubtedly be an unforgettable event.
Major international figures continue to join the line-up of participants for Corona Rally Mexico in its Rally of Nations edition. Now, it is Austria’s turn to secure its participation with the current world champion in the production car category, Andreas Aigner, and Manfred Stohl, two of the most successful drivers this Central European country has ever produced. Both drivers have expressed their enthusiasm about competing in Mexico and their desire to win the coveted title.
With rally victories in Monte Carlo, France, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia under his belt, and the experience of having raced in WRC teams before, Manfred Stohl will compete in the Corona Rally Mexico, where in 2006 he was so successful, Stohl making it to the podium as a team member of OMV, having finished in third place just behind Sebastien Loeb and Peter Solberg.
“Mexico was a great opener to a fantastic 2006 for me, as I made the third place in a WRC car with a private team. The Corona Rally Mexico is a great event, very well organized and with an excellent crew. It will be an excellent competition and I’m ready to be there,” said Stohl.
Andreas Aigner has the best credentials: the Austrian driver is the current world champion in the production car category, and this being the official category at the Rally of Nations, he will surely be one of the favorites.
Aigner has already raced in Mexico, in 2007, and although he finished in eleventh place back then, the champion is confident: “I feel very good in Mexico; the atmosphere is incredible and the people are wonderful. They have a spectacular start”.
The Austrian team will compete behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and are expected to arrive in Mexico in early July.
On August the 27th, 1959, Gerhard Berger was born in Worgl Austria and went on to become a major name in the world of Formula 1 racing. Berger has an incredible track record, having competed in 14 seasons of Formula One. His best ranking was his two third-placed season finishes during which he won ten Grand Prix races, made it to the podium 48 times, 12 poles and 21 fastest laps, two more than Ayrton Senna, a good friend of his. It can be said that Gerhard Berger is a F1’s most experienced driver in all of Formula One history with his 210 starts. He can also be merited with being the winner of Benetton’s first and last wins, with eleven years in between them.
With European Formula Three, Berger won numerous times and from there he moved to Formula One in 1984 and drove for the ATS team. In 1985 he joined the Arrows for one full season, but it was only when he made a move to Benetton-BMW the following year that his F1 career really went places. In 1986 he won his first Grand Prix in Mexico, which caught Ferrari’s eye and he was soon with them for the 1987 season. Gerhard managed to win the last two rounds of the season and was seen as the 1988 Championship favorite. But with the McLaren team made up of Prost and Senna, who won 15 of the total of 16 rounds, it was not to be.
Nigel Mansell joined Berger at Ferrari in 1989. However, the car failed to produce the needed results and Gerhard was fortunate to survive a fiery crash during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. Fortunately with relatively few injuries Berger was able to join from mid-season on. Then from 1990 to 1992 Berger moved to McLaren and joined Ayrton Senna, but Senna’s brilliant pace was difficult to match. Gerhard Berger was an immensely popular figure in Formula One and up until 2003 was seen in the pitlane as Competitions Director at BMW, overseeing their successful return in Formula One racing until 2006 when he took up shares with Scuderia Toro Rosso. He later sold his 50% share in the team back to Mateschitz in 2008.