Motorsport Italia team co-ordinator Jack de Keijzer reflects on free practice and qualifying and reiterates that the team will be aiming for a top ten finish with Michal Kosciuszko in his Lotos Team WRC-run MINI John Cooper Works WRC car...
Hello again everyone, Jack here,
We've now been in Mexico for six days and are ready to get started with the rally stages! This morning was Free Practice and the Qualifying Stage. This was the first time Michal had driven his MINI John Cooper Works Countryman WRC in anger on a warm gravel rally, so it was an interesting test.
Of course, Rally Mexico is also Michal's first event this year that he's competed on before in Super 2000, a car whose handling is relevant to his current WRC car. This meant that unlike in Monte and Sweden – quite specialist rallies – here Michal and [co-driver] Maciek [Szczepaniak] could focus on refining their pace notes during recce rather than completely overhauling them or writing them from scratch.
Since we arrived, we've prepared the Service Area and the car for the rally. It's complicated behind-the-scenes on a long-haul. You have to create your own village from one container!
Michal is first on the road tonight and tomorrow, which is a tough shout! He'll be sweeping the longer stages, but he'll give it his best shot. As with the last two events, he's focused on completing the stages safely and building up his experience in his MINI. This is especially important with three more potentially hot gravel rallies following this one back-to-back. That said, he also has his sights firmly set on a Top 10 finish here.
The two stages this evening should be a great spectacle. The Mexican Event Organisers always put on a good show. They pack a wide variety of stages into a compact itinerary that's challenging, but spectator friendly. Now I have to go because I'm heading off to Guanajuato, but I'll make sure to keep you updated throughout the rally. Watch this space – and wish us luck!