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Mexico - 12-15 Mar 20

Posted: March 14, 2020 8:11 PM - 1538 Hits

Round 3 - 2020 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Mexico 2020) Also available at: rally-base results & ewrc-results.com
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally Mexico

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
Shakedown - Thu - 16:01
SS1 Fri - 02:08 (Superspecial)
SS3 Fri - 15:08
SS13 Sat - 14:58
SS22 Sun - 14:38 Sunday Stages Cancelled

RALLY GUANAJUATO MEXICO CONFIRMS REVISED RALLY SCHEDULE

Posted: March 14, 2020 8:11 PM

In a change to the event schedule, Rally Guanajuato Mexico will now finish on Saturday evening (14 March) in the face of fast-changing travel restrictions connected with the global COVID-19 virus outbreak.

With the unanimous support of WRC Promoter and manufacturer teams, Rally Guanajuato Mexico organisers have requested the FIA to bring forward the finish from Sunday afternoon. The event will now end after SSS21 Rock & Rally León with a pódium ceremony in the arena.

With many countries globally imposing travel restrictions, all parties agreed every effort should be made to ensure safe and timely travel home for officials, competitors and team personnel.

With more than 75 percent of the rally’s competitive distance having been completed, full FIA World Rally Championship points will be awarded.

Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo, Governor of Guanajuato:
“In co-ordination with the organising committee of Rally Guanajuato México, and due to the closure of some destination airports forteams and visitors from foreign countries, the decision to move forward the awards and closing ceremony of the event to this evening has been confirmed. We support and respect this decision, which has been made based on the availability of destination airports. The State of Guanajuato continues without any confirmed cases of COVID19 and with all the corresponding prevention mechanisms in place.”

Yves Matton, FIA Rally Director:
“The decision to finish the event tonight has been taken unanimously by the Rally Mexico organisers, with the support of the governor, the WRC Promoter and the FIA. We are all very sad that the rally has to end prematurely but due to the rapidly evolving situation and the various travel restrictions being implemented in the different parts of the world, the priority was to ensure a safe return home for the teams and personnel. We would like to thank the organisers and the Mexican International Motor Sport Federation (OMDAI) for their exceptional commitment to host a world-class evento and the local health authority for their strenuous efforts and all the actions taken to protect locals and visitors.”

Oliver Ciesla, Managing Director WRC Promoter:
“For the exceptional hospitality we enjoyed in León and for the perfect organisation of a high-class rally weekend, we thank the entire Rally Guanajuato Corona team and the Government of Guanajuato. The support the WRC enjoys in Mexico from fans and authorities is exceptional and we regret this weekend comes to an early end. However, to ensure colleagues and team members can return home to their families under increasingly complicated travel conditions, we appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all parties involved to exceptionally nominate the winner of this 17th edition of Rally Mexico on Saturday evening.”

Patrick Suberville, Rally Guanajuato Mexico Director:
“In agreement with teams, the FIA and WRC Promoter, the organising committee has decided to bring forward the end of the evento after the Rock and Rally special stage on Saturday evening. This will allow teams and the media to return to their countries with the anticipation of the imminent closure of their borders because of COVID-19. The event will then be eligible for full championship points in all the respective categories.”

Andrea Adamo, Team Principal Hyundai Motorsport:
“A unanimous decision to stop Rally México tonight has been reached between all parties involved due to the increasing complexity regarding the return of the rally community back home. The situation has been developing hour-by-hour and we couldn’t wait longer to take a decision. We think it’s the right decision to stop the rally this evening and assure a safe journey back in these specific circumstances.”

Richard Millener, Team Principal M-Sport Ford:
“We fully support the local organisers, FIA and WRC Promoter in this decision. Whilst the competitor in all of us would love to continuing rallying this weekend, we need to consider the wider situation. With the various travel restrictions currently being implemented in the US and Europe, our top priority is ensuring all team members are returned safely home.”

Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal Toyota Gazoo Racing:
“Our team fully understands the situation and completely supports the decision of the Rally Mexico organisers. It is a shame that this edition of Rally Mexico is ending in this way, as it is such a wonderful event, but considering that we need to be able to ensure that our team members can get home safely to their families, this is the correct decision.”

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing aims to continue its strong start in the Mexican heat

Posted: March 11, 2020 10:30 AM

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team heads to Rally Mexico (March 12-15) – the first true gravel event of the season – aiming to continue its impressive start to the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship and achieve another top result. Elfyn Evans travels to Mexico leading the drivers’ championship for the first time after his win on Rally Sweden, with team-mate Sébastien Ogier (a five-time winner of Rally Mexico) just five points behind, while Kalle Rovanperä is fresh from his record-breaking maiden podium on the previous event.

After the winter conditions of Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden, Rally Mexico provides a considerable contrast for the teams and drivers. It is usually one of the warmest events of the season, with ambient temperatures that can reach 30°C, and is also the highest round on the calendar, with the route climbing to 2737m above sea level. At such altitude, the thinner air reduces engine power by as much as 20 per cent.

As usual, the rally will start in colourful Guanajuato on Thursday evening, where fans will be treated to double the action with two competitive runs through the city’s streets and tunnels. There will be a total of 10 stages on Friday, including a loop of three gravel stages run twice. The morning is followed by a new test at Guanajuato Bicentennial Park, and the afternoon completed in host city León by two runs around the local racing circuit and a short street stage. Two more laps of the racing circuit plus a different street stage adjacent to the service park round out Saturday’s action, after another three repeated gravel stages. There are three more stages to end the rally on Sunday, with El Brinco hosting the Power Stage finale.

Quotes:

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It has been a brilliant start to the season for the whole team and, of course, we hope to keep it going in Mexico. It is a rally where we know that the altitude and the high temperatures can make it tough for the cars. We have worked very hard and improved a lot in this area since we started: We already saw there last year that we had no issues with the cooling, and the speed was very good too. So I am feeling confident that we can go there and have another strong rally with our three crews, who have all settled in to the team incredibly well so far.”

Sébastien Ogier/ Julien Ingrassia
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 17)
“It’s always a great feeling every year to go to Rally Mexico. I have so many good memories there: It was my first WRC event back in 2008, when we started with a win in the Junior category, and since then we’ve had a lot of good results there. I have had the chance to do two days of testing in Spain recently, and I think the first feeling with the car on gravel is really good. After two events where we had some good pace but didn’t manage to claim a win yet, this will definitely be the target in Mexico. With more mileage in the car now, I start to feel more and more comfortable in the Yaris WRC. Being third on the road is not a bad starting position, and our plan will be to try to fight as hard as we can for the victory.”

Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“It’s obviously been a great start to the year with the team, and I’m looking forward now to the first gravel event of the season. In a way, Mexico is quite like the first two rallies of the year, in that it has its own specific challenges that we have to try and adapt to. And this year, it’s another new surface for us to get used to with a new car. But we found a good feeling in the first two rounds, and we hope to do the same in Mexico. Leading the championship does mean we will be opening on the road on Friday, which will not make it easy for us, but we almost have to forget about that and just focus on the job in hand.”

Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“The pre-event test in Spain was the first time for me on gravel in the Yaris WRC, but I was getting used to the feeling more and more. We tried a few different setup options and I think we found a good compromise. I competed on Rally Mexico two years ago, and the main difficulty there is the high altitude, which means you need to adapt your driving style. Sweden was of course a very nice rally for us, but I think that Mexico could be one of the trickiest events for me this year with my experience, and we will have to see how it goes.”

Hyundai Motorsport Preview: Round 3 – Rally Mexico

Posted: March 11, 2020 10:28 AM

Hyundai Motorsport is ready to tackle the first true gravel event of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), as Rally México plays host to the third round of the season.

The opening winter rounds will seem a distant memory as hot temperatures, high altitudes and challenging gravel stages greet crews over a four-day itinerary. From short street stages in Guanajuato including the WRC’s shortest-ever test in León (0.73km), to more gruelling stages like El Chocolate (31.45km), Guanajuatito (24.96km) and Otates (33.61km), every aspect of car and crew will be put through a rigorous workout in Mexico.

Three Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC crews will contest the popular Mexican rally: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul, Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja and Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio. With testing prohibited outside of Europe, all three pairs have put the car through its paces on gravel in Spain to prepare for the rally. Tänak and Sordo also contested Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras last week as a warm-up for Mexico.

After just two rounds, this year’s WRC championship has already become hotly contested with five different crews featuring on the podium. Victory for Neuville in Monte-Carlo and second place for Tänak in Sweden sees Hyundai Motorsport hold second place in the manufacturers’ table on 63 points, ten adrift of the leaders. Neuville, meanwhile, lies second in the drivers’ classification but equal on points with leader Elfyn Evans.

Team Principal Andrea Adamo said: “We can’t say that we have been completely satisfied with the performance of our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in the opening rounds of the season, even with the victory in Monte and second place in Sweden. We are working hard to make sure we have the most competitive package at every rally. Mexico will offer a completely different challenge, one that will put different pressures on our car and crews. We know that road order will have some influence with gravel conditions benefitting those, like Dani, who will be later to start on the first day. However, we have to focus on getting the best out of ourselves regardless of things that are out of our control. Maximising our performance in these early rallies of the season is important as it sets out our ambition for the rest of the championship.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) Second in the drivers’ championship on 42 points, equal with Elfyn Evans
Two Mexico podiums for Hyundai Motorsport in 2014 and 2017

Neuville said: “Rally México is the first ‘summer’ event with hotter temperatures than we faced in Monte and Sweden, as well as high altitude and some demanding long stages. They are tough conditions, especially as one of the first cars on the road. I have great memories of Mexico, including our first podium with Hyundai Motorsport, and my first-ever WRC top-three finish the year before. It has always been one of the rallies I wanted to win; I was never quite able to achieve it, but it would be nice to change that this year.” Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) Second place in Sweden secured crew’s first podium with Hyundai Motorsport Mexico will be their first proper gravel event in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Tänak said: “I was pleased to get my first podium with Hyundai Motorsport in Sweden, but Mexico will be very different – it’s a unique challenge. The heat and altitude make it a very specific event on the calendar. On the fan side, too, it’s amazing; we have a lot of people spectating and going crazy which makes it very special and emotional for us as drivers. There’s nowhere better than Mexico to come and get some sunny weather after the winter. Physically, it can be tough. At altitude we don’t have as much oxygen, so our driving style needs to be smooth and flowing, while the engine power is reduced, so we have to be efficient.”

Crew Notes: Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
First WRC event of the season for the Spanish crew
Strong history in Mexico, including second place podium finish in 2018

Sordo said: “I am excited to be back in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC at Rally México, an event I enjoy a lot and where I have always had a good performance. I have stayed close to the team in the opening events of the season, and took part in Rally Serras de Fafe last weekend, so I feel fit and ready. I really want to win in Mexico and to take another victory for the team. Our road position on the first day should be advantageous but that alone is not enough. The altitude makes it a difficult event, so we have to be prepared physically and to look after the car as well. We have a lot of support and passion from the fans, which only adds to the character of this event. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel.”

WRC 2 overview
The Hyundai i20 R5 showed encouraging pace and potential in the opening winter rounds of the 2020 WRC 2 championship, Monte-Carlo and Sweden.

Hyundai Motorsport’s two crews, Ole Christian Veiby/Jonas Andersson and Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Fedorov, have had highs and lows as they have acclimatised to their new machinery, working with RedGrey Team. The contrasting Mexican terrain will give them a new opportunity to shine.

Veiby said: “Mexico is a new rally for me. I have only done the recce in 2017 and 2018, so I am excited to have this opportunity to compete. From what I have seen before, some stages are fast, some are slow, but all are tricky! You can’t go wide because you don’t know what awaits you roadside; you have to watch out for big rocks being dragged back out onto the road. The altitude is going to be a challenge. Jonas has already warned me that it will zap the power out of the engine. The thinner air will also affect the body, so it will be important to stay hydrated. We had a good day of testing on gravel, and it looks promising. We want to build on the good result we had in Sweden. For Mexico, victory is the target.”

Gryazin said: “I am really excited to take part in Rally México; it will be a completely new event for me, and an entirely new experience. The two main characteristics of the rally are the altitude and heat. We will have to adapt to the reduced power output from the engine, to keep a good line and work with the car to maximise our speed on the road. This is also the first time I will experience a long overseas flight; I will have some time ahead of the rally to acclimatise but I am looking forward to getting the rally started and seeing what we can achieve in the Hyundai i20 R5.”

Team Principal Andrea Adamo said: “We expect our two WRC 2 crews to make a step forward in performance in Mexico, even if it will be new experience for them. The performance of the i20 R5, developed by our Customer Racing department, has been competitive so we are encouraged to see how this will transfer onto the hotter, gravel conditions we will have in Mexico. There’s no question it is a challenging event, but that’s what the WRC is all about, and why we are here.”

Weekend at a Glance
Rally México is made up of 24 special stages across a competitive distance of 324.85km Thursday opens with a ceremonial start and two street stages in León before the first full day of action on Friday, which includes the famous El Chocolate test – 31.45km of exhilarating WRC roads up into the mountains
Saturday moves to the north and east of León with the familiar Guanajuatito (24.96km) and revised routes through Alfaro (16.99km) and Derramadero (21.78km)
The final morning includes Otates (33.61km), the longest stage of the rally, and concludes with the spectacular El Brinco (9.64km) and its iconic jump.

M-Sport - TARGETING NEW HEIGHTS

Posted: March 11, 2020 10:26 AM

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Esapekka Lappi, Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith will be targeting new heights when the FIA World Rally Championship turns to gravel at next week’s Rally Mexico.

The EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC has a strong track record at this breath-taking event – never finishing shy of the podium – and the team are confident of conquering the heights of this much-loved event once again.

Focused in and around the UNESCO World Heritage site of Guanajuato, Rally Mexico boasts beautiful scenery amidst challenging terrain. The 30°C heat can be closer to 50°C in the cockpit, and the stages rise to more than 2,700 metres above sea level – where the oxygen starved air can see engine performance reduced by as much as 20 percent.

The gravel stages can be rough going and the crews must adapt their driving to contend with the reduced power. Mistakes are less easily forgiven, and the engineers must be sure to extract maximum performance at all times.

Yet despite being one of the most uniquely challenging events on the calendar, Rally Mexico is also one of the most vibrant and the Mexican fans have taken the sport to their hearts.

To best prepare for the challenges ahead, the Cumbrian squad conducted a two-day research and development test at Ford’s state-of-the-art climatic chamber at the end of last year – perfecting engine maps and confirming optimum performance at high altitude and temperatures.

This was supplemented by a pre-event test in Southern Spain last week – allowing the crews to reaffirm the sensation of driving on gravel, optimising set-ups for peak performance, and allowing new-boy Lappi to experience his gravel-tuned Fiesta for the first time this year!

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“It’s time to see what we can do on gravel, and we’re optimistic about our chances next week. We’ve got a good track record in Mexico – with victory in 2018 and podiums every year since launching the current-spec cars. The team have done their research at Ford’s climatic chamber, and we’re well prepared having completed a four-day altitude test in Spain last week.

“This will be the first time Esapekka competes behind the wheel of a Fiesta in gravel trim, but he’s improving with ever kilometre and closing in on the top-three. Teemu hasn’t had the best start to the year and needs a solid result, but he has won here before and when he gets into his rhythm there’s no stopping him. And don’t discount Gus either. He’s only been here once before, but he performed well and this is one of those events where anything can happen!

“Rally Mexico is always a real highlight for the team and we’re all looking forward to experiencing the Mexican hospitality – and pushing for some strong results on the opening gravel event of the year.”

LAPPI / FERM
Delivering a strong start to 2020, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will be looking for another good result at next week’s Rally Mexico. Getting better and better behind the wheel of the Fiesta, the pairing will be looking to challenge for the top positions and keen to secure their best Rally Mexico result.

Previous starts: 2
Best result: 11th (2018)

Esapekka Lappi said:
“Every time I get behind the wheel I’m learning more and fine-tuning the set-up to better suit my driving. We worked on a few things in Sweden, and continued that at the pre-event test last week. We’ve not been too far off challenging for the podium, and I think that has to be our goal in Mexico.

“I’m getting more and more confident with the Fiesta, but of course Mexico is a tricky and unique event where you really need to be clean and efficient in your driving. The altitude also means that we run with less power, so small mistakes take longer to recover. But the feeling is good, so let’s see what we can do.”

SUNINEN / LEHTINEN
Teemu Suninen is already a winner at Rally Mexico having powered to the top step of the WRC 2 podium in 2016. Keen to reignite his season at the Mexican event, the young Finn is determined to get back on track and has the benefit of experience alongside – co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen contesting the event for the tenth time this year.

Previous starts: 3
Best result: 9th / 1st WRC 2 (2016)

Teemu Suninen said:
“I’ve always enjoyed this event and the stages are really nice to drive, but the high temperatures and altitudes mean that it can also be really challenging. Even with a world rally car you can feel the lack of oxygen and we need to be prepared for that – both physically and in our driving too.

“We haven’t had the best start to the season, but I’m now fully focused on this event. We completed a pre-event test last week where we found a good set-up, and we know from previous years that the Fiesta is a fast and reliable car here. We will certainly be trying our best to score some good points next week.”

GREENSMITH / EDMONDSON
Gus Greensmith might have only contested Rally Mexico on one previous occasion, but it’s already a firm favourite with the young Brit who secured his first WRC 2 podium at the event in 2018. Claiming the second step of the podium, the event also delivered his first FIA World Rally Championship points with ninth place overall. Co-driver Elliott Edmondson will however be contesting the Mexican event for the very first time next week.

Previous starts: 1
Best result: 9th / 2nd WRC 2 (2018)

Gus Greensmith said:
“I’m a huge fan of Rally Mexico and it’s probably my favourite place to visit on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar. The scenery and colours of Guanajuato and the enthusiasm of the fans provide a truly special experience for everyone and I can’t wait to get back there.

“I really enjoyed my time there in 2018, but it will be a completely different challenge this year. I’ve been preparing in the heat and altitude chambers so my body is definitely feeling efficient and I’m sure that will help my performance next week, so let’s see what we can do.”

NEW TEAM LINE-UPS AND RISING STARS SET FOR RALLY GUANAJUATO MÉXICO CHALLENGE

Posted: March 10, 2020 4:17 PM

The challenging icy roads of Monte-Carlo and the not-so-snowy forest trails of Sweden will be a far cry from the baking hot and dusty gravel tracks of this weekend’s Rally Guanajuato México, as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) resumes in León with the third round of the series, starting on Thursday.

The 17th running of the only North American round of the series has attracted an impressive 38 entries on the latest list published before scrutineering checks.

Competitors from 19 nations will tackle 24 special stages over four days in the Guanajuato region of central Mexico. The entry is made up of nine Priority 1 drivers in World Rally Cars, three WRC2 entries, 10 in WRC3, with the remainder of the field consisting of RC2 and RC5 cars and additional entrants in the NACAM Championship.

The event always throws up its fair share of drama and surprises. Few rally fans will forget Sébastien Loeb trying to make it back to León with three wheels on his Citroën, Ott Tänäk’s incursion into a lake with his Ford Fiesta RS in 2015 or Kris Meeke’s dramatic tour of a stage-side spectator car park on the final Power Stage on his way to the win in 2017.

Several leading WRC drivers did their own version of musical chairs at the end of 2019 and familiar faces will be seen in different teams in México this year. Frenchman Sébastien Ogier returns to León with Toyota Gazoo Racing after missing out on a seventh successive world title last year on his one-year return to the Citroën Total World Rally Team. He will be aiming for a record-equalling sixth victory on the event, a feat earned by fellow countryman Sébastien Loeb between 2006 and 2012.

Ogier has replaced the defending World Champion Ott Tänäk in a team that now comprises Welshman Elfyn Evans and Finnish rookie Harri Rovanperä, following the somewhat surprising pre-season decision by the Japanese manufacturer and team principal Tommi Mäkinen to replace Ulster’s Kris Meeke and Finnish veteran Jari-Matti Latvala.

Mäkinen is understandably upbeat about the season after an encouraging start by his new drivers in Monte-Carlo and Sweden. Evans is currently tied for the championship lead with Thierry Neuville, following his third place in Monte-Carlo and the win in Sweden, Ogier is five points adrift and Rovanperä lies fourth.

“We are in a very good situation” Mäkinen. “It will be a very big difference now we have a fourth new potential title winner competing (Evans). I think this is the best ever, the ideal situation. It’s the same as some new car manufacturer joining to have more drivers at the top.”

Tänak announced a shock move to the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team before the opening round of the new season. But a serious crash in the south of France was a set-back for the Estonian as he attempts to defend his title in an i20 Coupe WRC alongside Monte-Carlo Rally winner Thierry Neuville and the experienced Spaniard Dani Sordo. Neuville has finished third in México on three occasions (2013, 2014 and 2017) and was fourth last March.

Hyundai is determined to retain the Manufacturers’ title that was confirmed for the first time in 2019. The team has been testing the i20 in gravel trim in Spain in the build-up to México and all three drivers were present at a Spanish test, before Tänak and Sordo took part in the Rally Serras de Fafe in Portugal.

The Estonian’s car featured revised aero work at the front and rear during the event in Portugal, while Sordo tackled the event in a current specification model. The Spaniard had won the event in 2019, but neither he nor Ott were eligible for the overall classification on this occasion.

Sordo said: “It is always a pleasure to come to Portugal. We worked together with Ott and the team to find different solutions and a good set-up for the car on gravel. It was really important for us to get into a good rhythm before Rally México.”

Tänak added: “The feeling is good after the test. I feel comfortable with the car. We know there are things we can improve. I started (before the Spain test) with zero knowledge for the car in gravel specification but I am learning all the time.”

Citroën held an impressive record in México, the French team having won eight of the 15 events in the WRC thus far. But management’s decision to pull the plug on the WRC programme was a blow for several drivers.

That decision, and Evans’s move to Toyota, opened the door for a vacancy at the Ford M-Sport World Rally Team and former Citroën number two Esapekka Lappi has joined Teemu Suninen as the regular duo to run the Ford Fiesta WRCs in 2020. Lappi has made a solid start to his campaign with the new team and holds fifth in the Drivers’ Championship.

England’s Gus Greensmith drives the third car on this occasion, as the Blue Oval tries to repeat the success it earned on the event with Ogier in 2018.

The UK-based team conducted a two-day research and development test at Ford’s climatic chamber to perfect engine mapping and performance for higher altitude and increased temperatures – both of which are a feature of Rally México – and this was supplemented by a recent test in Southern Spain. It was also the first opportunity for Lappi to drive the Fiesta on gravel.

The Finn said: “Every time I get behind the wheel, I’m learning more and fine-tuning the set-up to better suit my driving. We worked on a few things in Sweden and continued that at the test. I think the podium has to be our goal in México. It is a tricky and unique event, where you really need to be clean and efficient in your driving. The altitude also means that we run with less power, so small mistakes take longer to recover.”

Tomorrow (Wednesday), marks the second day of stage reconnaissance for competitors before the event gets underway with a ceremonial start and two passes through the opening super special stage in Guanajuato on Thursday evening.

Entry List (Revised)

Posted: February 27, 2020 4:18 AM

Rally Guide / Event Website:

Posted: January 17, 2020 1:26 PM

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