The international rallying community is becoming increasingly excited as the first weekend of March is approaching – the newly established Red Bull Skoda team is going to have a premiere. The team around IRC Champion Juho Hanninen is going to make its debut as part of Red Bull Skoda, and Hanninen & Markkula will make their first-ever appearance in Mexico. The Mexico Rally is one of the most exciting and also one of the most challenging events of the entire S-WRC series. Juho Hanninen & Mikko Markkula are going to face strong international competition with a Skoda Fabia S2000. Their team colleagues, Hermann Gassner jr. & Katharina Wustenhagen, are going to appear at the following event in Jordan.
The gravel event in the surroundings of Leon is indeed difficult, because the stages take place at high altitudes and the air temperatures are high as well, and so the race is going to be a test of endurance for both the cars and the drivers. The biggest portion is going to take place in Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato that offer a beautiful mix of mountain-peak sceneries and fast stretches in open valleys. The highly competitive field of drivers will have to cope with total of 22 stages (365 km) and more than a thousand kilometres of transfers.
Juho Hanninen underlines the importance of the team’s appearance in the S-WRC series: “Our appearance in S-WRC is a big challenge for the whole team. We have high ambitions, i.e. we want to be among the leaders of the field, and so the start of the season is extremely important. The competition is going to be strong, but we are prepared well. The reality will show where we stand in comparison with the other teams.”
Head of the team Raimund Baumschlager adds: “The Mexico Rally is going to be no fun ride, but we are prepared for that. We have top-class resources, state-of-the-art technology and – thanks to the massive support we are getting from the Skoda Motorsport (factory team) – we also have Juho Hanninen, one of the best drivers on gravel these days. I believe that our position in the final rankings will be high“.
Hermann Gassner jr.: “We are going to do some more testing to make good use of the time remaining until the Jordan Rally – after all, the car is new to me. The appearance in S-WRC is a big step forward, it is the first time that we will be part of an international series. The goal is to gain as much experience as possible and gradually climb up to the top of the field“.
As for Red Bull Skoda, the Jordan Rally will only see Hermann Gassner. The events planned for both of the drivers include Sardinia, Greece, Finland, Germany, France and Spain.
- Skoda Motorsport