LEON -- BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers, co-drivers and team members swapped horsepower for footpower Thursday as they ran one of Rally Mexico's speed tests in León to raise money for Sport Relief.
Federation Internationale de L’Automobile World Rally Championship leaders Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen traded their 300 horsepower Ford Focus RS World Rally Car for a more sedate pace as they led the 25-strong team through the 1.5km street stage with the support of team mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila.
After being flagged off the line by team director Malcolm Wilson, the team faced demanding conditions as temperatures neared 30 degrees C. León, 400km north-west of Mexico City, sits at almost 2000 metres and the high altitude left runners gasping for breath as they paced themselves around the test.
The BP Ford Abu Dhabi team was joined by Stobart M-Sport Ford drivers Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor and team-mates Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin. Also donning his running shoes was Munchi's Ford driver Federico Villagra.
"It was fun to do the run with the team and raise money for charity at the same time. It was really hot out there, but I've been here a few days and done some running at this high altitude. I can really feel the difference here in Mexico when I'm training. I'm sure we'll raise plenty of money for the charity. It's great to be able to give something back but now I need a shower and get ready for the serious business of the weekend in the rally," said 29-year-old Hirvonen, winner of the opening round of the WRC season in Sweden last month.
WHAT IS SPORT RELIEF?
In 2010, Sport Relief is raising money to help people living unimaginably tough lives both in the UK and across the world. Three major issues are highlighted this year—Street and Working Children, Malaria and local projects in the UK. Money raised helps to provide safe places for children to live, get nutritious meals, an education and supports them as they cope with their difficult lives living on the streets.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT US?
If you would like to support the team in their bid to raise money for this great cause, then you can do so online.