Ponta Delgada, July 6th 2002 - Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata, driving the Ford Focus WRC of the Ford Galp Energia Racing team, won the 37.th edition of the Sata-Azores Rally, a very competitive event that gave even more expression to the team's...
Ponta Delgada, July 6th 2002 - Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata, driving the Ford Focus WRC of the Ford Galp Energia Racing team, won the 37.th edition of the Sata-Azores Rally, a very competitive event that gave even more expression to the team's overall wins return.
"We think we deserved this success a long time ago but it didn't happen before only because our lack of chance, that started exactly one year ago, at this same rally. I sincerely hope that a new cycle has began now", said Rui Madeira, just before the final podium.
And the Ford Galp Energia Racing driver added: "As I said before the rally started, we were only interested in the overall win. We always drove with that target in mind and if this time we had the chance that we missed in earlier moments of the Championship, that was the minimum compensation for all the problems that we had during this season."
Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata lead the rally since the middle of the second and last leg. They were able to keep the first place after a slow puncture at the beginning of the 18th ss and their main competitor - Miguel Campos, driving a Peugeot 206 WRC - took a 2 minutes road penalty (corresponding to a 20 seconds delay) and spun twice at the next special stage, damaging the front of the car and loosing another 45 seconds, leaving Ford's team with a 1 minute lead. Armin Kremer, from the German's Ford Team, went up to second place, keeping this position until the arrival.
Driving carefully in the last section of the rally, Madeira and Prata finished with a 54,3 seconds lead: "It was very important to shorten the gap to our main rivals in the Championship but, even more important, this win gave us the necessary confidence to face the final season's tarmac phase rallies. We will keep trying our best to score points and fight for the title till the end of the Championship", said Madeira.
Final classification: 1.st MADEIRA/PRATA (Ford Focus WRC), 2h 32m 43,3s; 2.nd Kremer/Schneppenheim (Ford), 54,3s; 3.rd Campos/Magalhães (Peugeot), 1m 52,3s: 4.th Louro/Fernandes (Mitsubishi), 8m 25,1s; 5.th Fontes/Silva (Fiat), 13m 29,2s; 6.th Franco/Furtado (Mitsubishi), 13m 38,1s; etc.
Championships classification: DRIVERS - 1.st Miguel Campos, 42 pontos; 2.nd Rui Madeira, 20; 3.rd Armindo Araújo, 11; 4.th Andrea Aghini and José Pedro Fontes, 10; 6.th Bruno Magalhães, 9; etc. MANUFACTURES - 1.st Peugeot, 38; 2.nd Ford, 26; 3.rd Mitsubishi, 24; 4.th Fiat, 14; 5.th Citroen and Toyota, 10; 7.th Subaru, 6.