Ott Tanak says the trickiest element of Rally Mexico is coping with the high altitude which effects the drivers, teams and cars as he prepares for the third round of the 2015 World Rally Championship.

The M-Sport driver enjoyed a successful Mexican event last year, finishing fourth in the WRC2 class with the Ford Fiesta R5 and his team are hopeful he can push on further with the latest evolution of the Fiesta RS rally car in the top category.

Last time out the Estonian notched up a fourth place finish at Rally Sweden but Tanak sees Mexico as a completely different beast.

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"The altitude is the hardest part. It's hard on the crews but it's also hard on the cars," he said. "There's a lot less power so you need to think about that when you're in the stages. You need to be very clean and precise and make sure that you keep the speed up all the time."

Rally Mexico commences from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Guanajuato, standing at over 1,700 metres above sea level. The rally then climbs over 21 stages to a peak of over 2,800 metres which provides oxygen-starving conditions. M-Sport forecast the performance of its rally car will fall by almost 20% due to the thinner air.

"The stages on the first day are quite tricky so it will be important to make it through them cleanly without any problems. Then, if the feeling is there, we can look to push a bit more. The main thing is to keep everything clean and tidy - if we can do that and gradually build the speed then it could be a good event for us."

Tanak spent two days of testing the Ford Fiesta RS rally car along with team-mate Elfyn Evans to get used to the gravel surfaces after not competing on them since September last year.

"We had a two-day test and it was good to see that we were able to get back up to speed fairly quickly," Tanak said. "It's always a bit strange going back to gravel after so long, but it felt good and we are feeling well prepared.

"We also try to prepare as much as possible for the heat and altitude but that is not always so easy. I have a sauna every night but that's not quite the same, so we'll head out to Mexico a little earlier than usual to get used to the conditions.

"I'm looking forward to driving on gravel again and Mexico is a great event. The stages are really nice and smooth and the atmosphere means that it's always a lot of fun."

Rally Mexico runs between the 5-8 March and acts as the third round of the 2015 World Rally Championship. Sebastien Ogier currently leads the drivers' standings after claiming victory in both of the first two rounds in Monte Carlo and Sweden. Tanak sits seventh in the drivers' table, one place behind Evans.