TMN Rally of Portugal, round 4 of the 2002 Portuguese Rally Championship Ford Galp Energia Racing goes for overall victory. Lisbon (Portugal), June 5, 2002 - One year after having granted the Best Portuguese Team position at the TAP Rally of...
TMN Rally of Portugal, round 4 of the 2002 Portuguese Rally Championship
Ford Galp Energia Racing goes for overall victory.
Lisbon (Portugal), June 5, 2002 - One year after having granted the Best Portuguese Team position at the TAP Rally of Portugal, at the time still a WRC event, the Ford Galp Energia Racing team will now do everything in its power to convert that result into an overall victory at the now fully renewed and more in house event, the TMN Rally of Portugal.
"We are ready to face another Portuguese Championship event, a rally where I intend to widen my sporting curriculum and also my co-driver's Fernando Prata, while writing another success on Ford's 'Rally Golden Book'", said Rui Madeira. Visibly more relaxed from pressure than a fortnight ago at Figueira da Foz, where he took the Ford Focus WRC up to a 2nd place overall, with no mishaps, the driver is aware of the forthcoming events until the end of the season.
"At this time, both me and Fernando know that we can't afford to loose any more points to our opponents, so we are ready to fight - and conquer - for a first place on ACP Sport organized event. Although we will face a wider group of competitors, due to the return of Adruzilo Lopes and also because of the organizers invited drivers, we are convinced that we can offer all our Ford Galp Energia Racing team fans and supporters the first win on the season", he added.
There are two main reasons for this optimism: on one side, the gravel and tarmac tests that took place just before and after last Figueira da Foz Rally, anticipate a surely improved rest of the season compared with what happened a year ago. "We have then run two major tests, where we tried to take the best from our drivers while at the wheel of the Ford Focus WRC equipped with several tyres mixtures that Michelin has brought, using the different car set-ups applied by M-Sport, and we have ended up with very interesting conclusions", said Anabela Correia, Team Manager.
Further to that, the substantially longer stages used by ACP Sport at its event - the smallest has 17.7 km and the longest one with almost 24 km long - better fits Rui's driving style, against the usual sprint stages used on the grand majority of the Portuguese rallies. "It is known that I prefer the longer stages, something that comes from the time I used to compete on the Group N World Rally Championship, where, except for the super special stages, the WRC rallies have long stages. At home, the organizers have also had them in the past, although now they prefer the opposite, running more concentrated rallies, using shorter stages".
"As for the new Rally of Portugal, independently from all the mishaps due to its exclusion of the World Rally series, it will continue to be a tough event, run through very technical stages, with lots of driving and demanding in terms of attention", states the driver. "There's a lot of loose gravel and small stones, on very hard tracks, something that will be more problematic on the second run through the same stages".
"During the recees, where we place a special attention onto the pace notes, we faced several very fast stages, namely the two to be run on Friday evening, while other were more twisty, with lots of tough corners, varying the rhythm and more demanding in terms of attentiveness. Only the Bornes SS is not to my liking, being somewhat slow and having lots of loose stones, namely on the fire-breaks intersections, specially created to reduce speed. As for the final set-up, we will run another private test tomorrow and the official shakedown on Friday morning", he added.
Centred around Macedo de Cavaleiros, the TMN Rally of Portugal has only five different stages, three to be run twice, totalling 163.4 km and integrated on an overall route of 310.15 km. The 1st Leg starts at 17h00 on Friday, in front of the City Hall, and will run two stages, the 22.5 km of Corujas and the 23.84 km of Cabanas. The following day will see the remaining rally to be run - Morais (20.43 km), Malta (20.4 km) and Bornes (17.7 km) - on a morning round due to be repeated just after lunch. The arrival is scheduled to 16h45 at the podium set up at Macedo de Cavaleiros city centre.