The third round of the WRC crosses southwest over the Atlantic Ocean, up to the high mountains of Mexico. New regulations on road-position can be decisive on the lose gravel, but so is endurance and reliabilty. Making the right picks should be difficult here.
Dusty Ventures asked me if I could write the preview this time, since he's out on the road himself. That shouldn't affect you in any way though, commenting on this preview or sending him a message on twitter will get you entered for this third round.
The first two events this year has both ranked among some of the most entertaining rounds we've seen recently. Attention turned towards the one-off return of Sebastien Loeb in Monte-Carlo, and Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen both challenged for the victory in Sweden. Still, the winner of the first two rounds were double world champion Sebastien Ogier. That means he will be first on the long gravel stages for two days in Mexico. Winning will be incredibly tough. Impossible, according to Ogier himself.
A turnaround in Fantasy WRC isn't that likely though. McNewbie and Timmybings have achieved two good results, and is only separated by one point before this rally. Right behind them is 2014 champion Lumpy44 and Sliding-Sideways, with the rest of the pack further behind due to low scores in Sweden. A good score in Mexico could revive the season for some (like myself), but it's still very early. Even if you've missed out on the first two rounds, you can still win!
That means Jari-Matti Latvala has the best opportunities to make a solid bite into Ogiers championship lead. If he can avoid hitting the famous Mexican rocks, that is. Thierry Neuville is the third and last of the current drivers to reach a podium in Mexico, but will have to drive second on the road here. Could Citroën or Ford snatch a win, with VW and Hyundai having their best drivers first on the road? Mads Østberg has proved good speed in Mexico before (led last year), but always encountered problems. Kris Meeke is in his best form ever, but hasn't finished in the points here before. Picking the best Citroën driver has never been harder. Same goes for M-Sport, as both Evans and Tänak has good results from this rally.
With this being in Mexico, the entry is slightly lower than in the European rounds. There are still 14 WRC-cars to chose from, but if that isn't enough you're free to chose any car/crew on the entry list. In case you're new to this game, check out the rules (AND PRIZES!) here. As usual, there's a lot of statistics availible as well.
Sebastien Ogier - Avg points last 10 races: 18.6 / Avg points Mexico: 16.3
Jari-Matti Latvala - Avg points last 10 races: 15.4 /Avg points Mexico: 8.4
CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT:
Kris Meeke - Avg points last 10 races: 7.0 /Avg points Mexico: 0.0
Mads Østberg - Avg points last 10 races: 5.7 /Avg points Mexico: 6.0
Elfyn Evans - Avg points last 10 races: 6.0 /Avg points Mexico: 12.0
Ott Tänak - Avg points last 10 races: 5.3 /Avg points Mexico: 10.0
Thierry Neuville - Avg points last 10 races: 9.6 /Avg points Mexico: 10.0
Dani Sordo - Avg points last 10 races: 7.2 /Avg points Mexico: 7.2
SINGLE CAR TEAMS AND INDEPENDENTS:
Andreas Mikkelsen (VW) - Avg points last 10 races: 13.8 /Avg points Mexico: 0.0
Hayden Paddon (HYUNDAI) - Avg points last 6 races: 4.7 /Avg points Mexico: N/A
Martin Prokop (FORD) - Avg points last 10 races: 3.8 /Avg points Mexico: 6.0
Lorenzo Bertelli (FORD) - Avg points last 2 races: 0.0 /Avg points Mexico: N/A
Benito Guerra (FORD) - Avg points last 10 races: 6.0 /Avg points Mexico: 6.0
Robert Kubica (FORD) - Avg points last 10 races: 1.4 /Avg points Mexico: 0.0
Henning Solberg* (FORD) - Avg points last 10 races: 3.6 /Avg points Mexico: 7.6
*Though Henning is on the entry list, he's not actually entering this rally. He hopes to be back for Argentina though.