From General Article [ 09/09/2003 ].
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For the first time in history, Mexico will host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The organisers of Corona Rally Mexico have successfully secured a date in the 2004 World Rally Championship calendar and the Leon-based event will run as the third round of the series between 12-14 March. This is a significant moment for Mexico, as not only is it the first time World Championship rallying has come to the country, it also marks the return of the sport at its highest level to the North American region after an absence of 15 years.
“I feel overwhelmed; there is not really any other way to describe the feeling of pride I have for everyone. We have been preparing for this moment for the last five years, working body and soul, and it is the achievement of a lifetime. Now we have more consciousness of the size of the package we have landed for our country, but we have no doubts we can do it. There is clearly a sense of nervous anticipation though! Support from the State of Guanajuato is there, we know that, so we are moving ahead with confidence. Securing a round of the World Rally Championship for Mexico makes me extremely proud; now we can dream of having one of the best events in the series.”
Over the last few years, the State government, municipalities and cities of Guanajuato, Leon and Silao have pledged unrivalled support to Corona Rally Mexico and its bid for inclusion in the World Rally Championship, recognising the opportunity to showcase the country through world-class motorsport. Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, the Governor and highest ranking politician of the State of Guanajuato, said:
“We feel honored that our State has been chosen to host Corona Rally Mexico, and on behalf of the people of Guanajuato I extend a warm welcome to the international rally community who will be honoring us with their presence and allowing us to enjoy a magnificent show. Our State, by tradition, has always been a hospitable place; the friends who visit us can enjoy its beauty as well as visit cities of great industrial and cultural development; it is a unique place where people of all ages can join together.”
Adding to his comments, Leon’s Municipal President Luis Ernesto Ayala Torres said: “We look forward to expressing a warm greeting to everyone who comes to Rally Mexico, part of the 2004 World Rally Championship, for which Leon, Guanajuato will be the official host city. We are excited and enthusiastic about the scale of this event and its high level of competition, and I believe the people of Leon will have the same feeling, especially those who closely follow this intelligent and technically demanding sport. This World Rally Championship event strengthens Leon’s position internationally, and for that we have gratitude.”
Grupo Modelo, through its Corona Extra brand, will continue to support Rally Mexico when it makes its debut in the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship. Corona Extra, which has been the event’s title sponsor since 1999, is the number one selling beer in Mexico and the leading export brand from the country. It has also been the fastest growing imported beer, in history, in the United States and is now available in more than 150 countries worldwide.
“We have been working with the organising team for many years now because we all saw the potential for the World Rally Championship in Mexico,” commented Martin Orbea, Special Events Manager for Grupo Modelo. “This has always been a partnership and a shared dream, something we have had enormous faith in, and we are delighted it has come to fruition. Corona Rally Mexico will be a unique event in the series and we are extremely happy to be the title sponsor of what will be one of the largest events in the country.”
Corona Rally Mexico, the third round of the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship, will be based in Leon, 300 kilometers to the north of Mexico City. It is the fifth biggest city in the country with 1.2 million inhabitants, the largest in the State of Guanajuato and boasts a population of 50 million within a 400 kilometre radius. The highly-acclaimed Poliforum ‘Rally Campus’, in the centre of the city, will once again host Rally Headquarters.