The Red Bull Škoda team will debut on March 5 at the Mexico Rally, the first round of the 2011 S-WRC series. Juho Hänninen and Mikko Markkula, who were the champions of last year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), will compete behind the wheel of a Škoda Fabia S2000. Many consider the Mexico Rally as one of the most exciting and challenging events of the entire S-WRC series. The endurance of the cars and the drivers will be tested at the gravel event around Leon as the stages take place at high altitudes and at high temperatures.
A large portion of the rally will take place in Sierra de Lobos and Sierra de Guanajuato, which both offer striking mountain backdrops and fast stretches in open valleys. There will be a total of 22 stages (365 km) and over a thousand kilometers of transfers between stages. Juho Hänninen said that the team has “high ambitions” to be the leaders and so it considers the start of the S-WRC series to be “extremely important.”
He said that the team has prepared for the competition and that the rally will show where they stand compared to the other teams. Team leader Raimund Baumschlager said that the Mexico Rally won’t be an easy ride but that the team is prepared to compete as it has “top-class resources, state-of-the-art technology” and Juho Hänninen, one of the best current drivers on gravel. He said that he believes that the team will get a high position in the final rankings.