Dry conditions and unknown terrain await current WRC championship leader Toni Gardemeister when he takes to the road at the weekend’s Mexican event, but the Ford driver says he could not have wished for a better start.

Dry conditions and unknown terrain await current WRC championship leader Toni Gardemeister when he takes to the road at the weekend’s Mexican event, but the Ford driver says he could not have wished for a better start.

Points leader thanks to a second-place finish in the Monte Carlo rally and a third place in Sweden, Gardemeister has yet to compete in this event, and will be at a noticeable disadvantage to the other drivers.

If conditions are dry, then the first few cars on the road on the opening leg are likely to lose time on the gravel stages as they sweep the loose top layer off the road and leave a harder base for the following drivers. But rains forecast ahead of the rally could benefit the frontrunners, as this should compact the top layer of gravel on the road surface. The overall rally order is then adopted for Saturday and Sunday, meaning that the surprise early leaders will be among the last on the road.

"It could be difficult if the road surface is loose," Gardemeister said. "We could drop time by starting ahead of our rivals but, as I haven't been to Mexico before, I don't really know what the stages will be like. My inexperience here means we must work hard during the recce to ensure our pace notes are as accurate as possible.

"Given the choice of running further down the order, or leading the championship and starting first, I would happily have accepted the current situation. I hope it's no better for the next round either, because that would mean that I would still be leading the championship.”

Former champions Marcus Gronholm, Sebastien Loeb and Petter Solberg should be in fighting form as they hope to correct poor performances either or both of the season’s first two rallies.

Solberg dominated the rally last year, but was denied victory after receiving a five-minute penalty on the Saturday night. His 2005-spec Subaru Impreza is set to make its arrival this weekend, and the team is optimistic of achieving a positive result.

Original article from Car