The first gravel round of the season marks a dramatic change in surroundings for the teams and drivers after the traditional European winter rallies in Monte Carlo and Sweden. But rather than simply the increase in temperature, what really makes Rally Mexico a unique challenge is the high altitude, with a route that peaks at over 2700 metres above sea level.
At such heights, the thinner air suffocates engines, reducing their power by as much as 20 percent. Cooling is affected too, and once the rock-strewn surface is factored in, you can see why Rally Mexico is one of the toughest tests for rally cars, drivers and tyres anywhere in the world.
Understandably, it’s not the fastest rally of the year, but the enthusiastic Mexican fans don’t seem to mind.