Marinha Grande, September 22, 2001 - Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata have finished the first day of the rainy Rota do Vidro Rally in 4th, following an incident that put them almost out of contention in the fight for a podium place. It all happen on...
Marinha Grande, September 22, 2001 - Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata have finished the first day of the rainy Rota do Vidro Rally in 4th, following an incident that put them almost out of contention in the fight for a podium place. It all happen on the second run of Campelo Special Stage, when an off road exit immobilized the Ford Focus WRC for almost four minutes.
"Somewhere inside that stage we slide off the track, into a wide ditch, putting the car next to a tree", said the driver. "The problem was more worrying, as we had two wheels in the air, as the bottom of the car topped the ditch, not allowing us to have sufficient traction to get out of that situation. Also the spectators were not many at that area".
As for the rally battle, it all began very early in this wet morning, with five stages run in a row, twice covering Campelo and Castanheira de Pêra stages, plus Pedrogão Grande SS. Adopting the usual initial careful pace, Ford Galpenergia Racing drivers have established the second fastest time on SS1, followed by two 3rd places on SS2 and SS3. Then came the Campelo incident that threw them down to 14th place. On the last morning stage, another 3rd fastest report allowed them to climb four places.
After stopping of the Service Area, only to check things up, as the Ford Focus WRC mechanic was not affected by that mishap, Madeira and Prata run twice the Milreu and Pampilhosa stages, the last one being the rally longest, with almost 28 km. On the first run, after setting a 3rd and a 4th fastest time, they climbed another five positions, while the second run allow them to go up one more step. This put them in 4th place by the end of the day, 4m41.9 secs apart from rally leader Miguel Campos (Peugeot).
For tomorrow's eight stages the main goal is to "try to get the maximum points possible and take some advantages of eventual problems that might affect the drivers in front of us", said the driver on the last Service Park.
CLASSIFICATION LEG 1 (PROVISIONAL): 1st M. Campos/C. Magalhães (Peugeot), 1h21m07.4s; 2nd A. Lopes/L. Lisboa (Peugeot), at 13,5s; 3rd P. M. Chaves (Toyota), at 1m44.3s; 4th Ford Galpenergia Racing - Rui Madeira/Fernando Prata (Ford Focus WRC), at 4m41.9s; 5th P. Silva/M. Castro (Mistubishi), at 6m29.5s; 6th H. Franco/T. Azevedo (Mitsubishi), at 7m04.2s (...).
-Ford Galpenergia Racing-