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Round 3 of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) sees teams and drivers heading to Central America for the Rally Guanajuato Mexico (8-11 March). There will be three ŠKODA FABIA R5s taking part, all of which are registered for the WRC2 Championship.

The FABIA R5 has never lost in Mexico since being first entered here in 2016, with Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula winning that year for the TGS Worldwide team, while Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson (ŠKODA Motorsport) took the win here last year.

Tidemand is back again this year as is Benito Guerra, who finished third twelve months ago, while the Finnish youngster Kalle Rovanperä will be making his debut appearance in a ŠKODA Motorsport’s FABIA R5. But with nine cars entered in the WRC2 category, the challenge will be tougher this year than ever before.

Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson, ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Motorsport. Rally Guanajuato Mexico 2017

TIDEMAND TARGETS WRC2 LEAD

For Pontus Tidemand, this will be his second WRC2 event of the year after a close second place finish at the Rally Sweden last time out. Driving alongside regular co-driver Jonas Andersson, the Swede will be looking to repeat his result here last year, when he won after a dramatic tussle with Frenchman Eric Camilli, who was just two seconds behind him going into the final leg. Tidemand currently sits third in the WRC2 standings behind his teammate and Rallye Monte Carlo winner Jan Kopecký and Rally Sweden winner Takamoto Katsuta. Therefore, he will be vying to take the championship lead with a good result in Mexico.

Pontus Tidemand

Birthdate: 10. 12. 1990
Birthplace: Charlottenberg, Sweden
Nationality: Swedish
The biggest successes: 2017 World Rally Champion (WRC2)
2015 Asia-Pacific Champion
2013 Junior World Rally Champion (JWRC)
First rally: Dan Anderssons Minne 2007
Member of ŠKODA Motorsport from: 2015
Kalle Rovanperä

ROVANPERÄ BECOMES YOUNGEST EVER WRC WORKS DRIVER

At just 17-years of age, Kalle Rovanperä will become the youngest works driver in WRC history when he makes his debut for the ŠKODA Motorsport team at the Rally Guanajuato Mexico. He enters the rally in fine form too, fresh from a win in the snow at the Vaakuna Ralli in Finland. Rovanperä has only driven three events in his home championship to date and has won them all so far, after victories at both the Vaakuna Ralli and the SM O.K. Auto-Ralli last year.

While this event will be Rovanperä’s debut drive for the ŠKODA works team, it is already his fourth WRC event. And he already has a win under his belt at the Rally Australia last year, but he was the only driver registered in the WRC2 category there. This year he has already driven a FABIA R5 alongside his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, at the Rallye Monte Carlo, where he finished second in the RC2 class (and eleventh overall) with only his experienced teammate Jan Kopecký ahead of him. He is making his debut at the Rally Mexico, but he has already proved himself to be a fast learner and the sky really is the limit for this flying Finn.

Kalle Rovanperä

Birthdate: 1. 10. 2000
Birthplace: Jyväskylä
Nationality: Finnish
The biggest successes: Latvian Rally Champion 2017, 2016
First rally: Rallijsprints Gulbis 2013
Member of ŠKODA Motorsport from: 2018
Benito Guerra jr. / Borja Rozada, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Motorsport Italia. Rally Guanajuato Mexico 2017

GUERRA BACK AT HIS HOME EVENT AGAIN

Completing the FABIA R5 line-up at his home rally will be the Mexican driver Benito Guerra Jr, who will be alongside Spanish co-driver Borja Rozada for the Motorsport Italia team. Guerra was the Mexican Rally Champion in 2006, the Spanish Gravel champion in 2010 and PWRC (Production Car WRC) Champion in 2012. He made his WRC2 debut at this event last season, finishing third in what was his first ever drive in a FABIA R5. He went on to claim two more third-place finishes (at the Rally Argentina and the Rally Catalunya) on his way to a fifth-place finish in the final WRC2 Championship standings.

Last season co-driver Rozada shared duties with another Spaniard, Daniel Cué. But this year Guerra and Rozada will be together for a total of seven WRC2 events (Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Sardinia, Germany, Wales and Catalunya). They will both be hoping to get their campaign off the fast start in Mexico.

Benito Guerra

Birthdate: 25. 3. 1985
Birthplace: Mexico City
Nationality: Mexican
The biggest successes: Mexican Rally Champion 2006
Spanish Gravel Champion 2010
Production Car World Rally Champion 2012
3rd place in WRC2 category at the Rally Mexico 2017
3rd place in WRC2 category at the Rally Argentina 2017
3rd place in WRC2 category at the Rally Catalunya 2017
First rally: Rally Mexico 2006

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