The real challenges that the crews and the teams will face in Mexico

Rally Mexico returned to World Rally Championship after a two-year absence from the calendar and is one of the most challenging rounds of WRC.

First of all, the gravel stages of Mexico are located on the mountains with the altitude being at 2.700 meters. In addition to that, there are high temperatures this period which will affect more the crews. Since last year, there were discussions about the high cockpit temperatures which made the crews very exhausted. A great example is that Paul Nagle's shoes melted at Rally Portugal due to the high temperatures, so FIA decided to review this incident with the intention of changing the regulations. Actually, the teams have added bigger roof air flow intakes and rear window vents while there is a ceramic coat which fitted around the exhaust system. Hyundai is the only WRC team which introduced a special roof for hot rallies which reflects the heat. However, the combination of altitude with the high temperatures will be challenging for the crews as they have to be in great form and to adapt to these conditions.

Apart from the drivers and the co-drivers, the real challenge will be for Rally1 cars which has never been driven in those conditions, especially at 2.700 meters of altitude. The settings of internal combustion engine (ICE) must be changed with the view of keeping the performance at the same level as in normal conditions. More specifically, the mechanics have to adjust the engine mapping otherwise the horsepower can be reduced by 20% due to thinner air. Another bet for the teams is the hybrid unit. As we know, the hybrid unit has a cooling system for protecting it from the overheat, but there will be less air on the mountains which means that less air intake will pass throughout the side vents to battery. Thus, the mechanics has to make mapping adjustments to two different areas of the car, to ICE and to hybrid unit. Finally, it must be mentioned that engine overheating is another serious problem and for this reason the radiators are located at a lateral position with the aim of protecting it from rocks and of providing better cooling to the engine.

Photo Credits: Toyota

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