The enormity of hosting a round of the FIA World Rally Championship means that support from government authorities is vital to the overall success of the event and the subsequent promotion of the country. The organiser of Corona Rally M?xico has now demonstrated its ability to run a rally of world-class standard, but its bid to become one of the top three rallies in the world in 2004 is boosted by the support it is receiving from the state and municipal authorities of Guanajuato, Le?n and Silao.

The State of Guanajuato and municipal government of Le?n have provided the multi-million dollar Poliforum Expo Center as a base for Rally Headquarters for the next three years.

This state-of-the art 21,000 square metre unobstructed exhibition hall will provide spectacular facilities for the teams, media and fans alike and is a modern showcase of what the country is capable of offering the industrial and commercial world.

In addition, the governments of Guanajuato, Le?n and Silao are jointly funding maintenance of the mountainous gravel roads, ensuring once again that the stages will be in top condition for the crews contesting the first world-status Corona Rally M?xico.

In the last year, this has already had a significant impact on the local inhabitants, with new roads and vehicular access to rural schools opening up previously impassable routes. Re-grading work is already in progress after the winter rains, with industrial earth-moving machines working daily to ensure the best possible conditions.

The three authorities will also deploy no fewer than 450 police officials to assist with security in the stages and at the start and finish, as well as providing helicopter and ambulance support in the special stages.

Rural schools and universities are also supporting the event through the provision of 1,200 marshals and, once again, the municipal authorities are funding the on-going training of these people, as well as their well-being during the event.

The Mexicans have already demonstrated to the World Rally Championship community their passion for life and commitment to hosting a spectacular rally, but the official start ceremony for Corona Rally M?xico remains a sight to behold. The state government, through co-operation from a number of the neighbouring states, provided stunning entertainment for the start of this year's rally and will again treat its international visitors to a feast of culture in 2004, both at the start and the official welcome party.

To underline its support of the event, four leading government dignitaries also travelled with the Corona Rally M?xico organising team to Rallye Catalunya - Rallye de Espana last month to witness first-hand the impact hosting a World Championship rally has on a host nation. In addition, the tourism department for the State Government of Guanajuato was represented in the rally village in Lloret de Mar, as well as in Cardiff during Wales Rally GB, promoting the country and its appeal to international visitors.

Commenting on the reasons for its support of Corona Rally M?xico, Cuquita Ruiz, chief executive officer of the Guanajuato State Tourism Board said: "Corona Rally Mexico will no doubt bring both economic and social benefits to the State of Guanajuato, given the magnitude of this World Championship event. Mexico is proud to be the first designated venue for the FIA World Rally Championship to be held in North America in years. We are sure Corona Rally Mexico will be a resounding success."

Adding to his comments, Desmond O'Shaughnessy, director general of promotion for the State of Guanajuato said: "Leon, Guanajuato and Silao are eager to demonstrate to the world that the quality of their services is second to none. Corona Rally Mexico affords us a unique opportunity to do just that. This sporting event will be the event of the year for North American rally enthusiasts; soccer World Cup fans will also remember Leon from the 1970 and 1986 events held here."

Corona Rally M?xico, the third round of the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship, takes place between 12-14 March.



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