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The lo­ca­tion for the open­ing scene of Bond film Spec­tre will be used as a su­per­spe­cial stage at next month’s Rally Mex­ico.

The agree­ment to take over Mex­ico City’s main square has been years in the mak­ing and will in­volve the or­gan­is­ers send­ing the com­peti­tors’ cars on a 500-mile round trip south for the mile-long su­per­spe­cial on Thurs­day, March 9.

Rally di­rec­tor Patrick Su­berville is con­fi­dent his team will pack 250,000 fans into the 57,600-square-me­tre area, known as Zocalo. This is the first time the event has vis­ited the na­tion’s cap­i­tal and its nine mil­lion-strong pop­u­la­tion.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited about this,” Su­berville told MN. “It’s a re­ally big deal for us. Tak­ing Rally Mex­ico to Mex­ico City will raise the pro­file enor­mously, it will open up the sport to a whole new bunch of fans.”

Su­berville’s plan was given uni­ver­sal back­ing from the man­u­fac­tur­ers, FIA and WRC Pro­moter. The cars will be trans­ported by road to and from the stage while the crews and of­fi­cials will be flown south to the city on char­tered planes.

Rally Ar­gentina or­gan­is­ers did the same thing 10 years ago, when the South Amer­i­can clas­sic be­gan with a stage in River Plate’s foot­ball sta­dium. Un­for­tu­nately, rain and fog grounded planes and de­layed team per­son­nel trav­el­ling back to Cor­doba. The fol­low­ing day’s gravel stages were all can­celled.

The jour­ney from Leon to Mex­ico City is a third of the dis­tance of the plan in Ar­gentina back in 2007.

Fri­day’s com­pe­ti­tion starts two hours later than usual, with the crews not ex­pected to ar­rive back in ser­vice un­til af­ter mid­night af­ter the pre­vi­ous night’s Mex­ico City test. The fa­mous, un­der­ground Gua­na­ju­ato street stage will now run on Fri­day night.

In ad­di­tion to the all-new su­per­spe­cial, Rally Mex­ico or­gan­is­ers have im­ple­mented fur­ther route changes. The 50-mile Gua­na­ju­ato stage has been lost from the fi­nal day, ac­count­ing for much of a 20-mile drop in to­tal com­pet­i­tive mileage, which falls from 249 to a to­tal of 229.

Mex­ico’s rep­u­ta­tion for en­durance re­mains with the likes of the 34-mile El Cho­co­late test run­ning on day two.

Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­database.com

Square will host big spe­cial stage

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