Thousands upon thousands of enthusiastic fans, a stunning backdrop, and a top-class carnival atmosphere – the Rally Mexico got off to an emotional start for participants and fans alike, with two short spectator stages. Volkswagen pairings Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Fin/Fin) were among the teams cheered on by the thrilled Mexican crowds lining the unique “Guanajuato Street Stage” and the “Parque Bicentenario” special stage. Ogier clocked the fastest time on the second special stage to move into the lead by an extremely small margin going into day two in Mexico. With the front-runners bunched closely together, team-mate Latvala follows in ninth place – just 6.4 seconds behind the leader.

The atmosphere ahead of the opening stage in the historic silver mining city of Guanajuato was enough to give send a shiver down the spine of even the most experienced driver: fans lined the streets forming the kilometre long special stage through the heart of Guanajuato, with people rushing onto the balconies of houses along the route and leaning out of windows to cheer on their WRC heroes. Cobblestones and narrow roads through the tunnels of the former mine added to the spectacular nature of the stage.

And then there was …

… Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala’s constant companion on the Rally Mexico. In case of emergencies, the two Volkswagen Polo R WRCs will for once have a satellite telephone on board. Should a situation arise, in which the driving pairs urgently need to communicate with their teams from the remote locations in central Mexico, the satellite phones are the only option. Only this way can the two crews remain in touch, despite the sometimes poor coverage provided by mobile network operators in the Sierras de Lobos and Sierras de Guanajuato.

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