Ford Galp Energia Racing - Rota do Dao Rally preview

Ford's farewell on S. Pedro do Sul stages. Lisbon (Portugal), November 21, 2002 - Team Ford Galp Energia Racing is ready to face the Sport/Rota do Dão Rally, the last event of the 2002 Portuguese Rally season, based on the same objectives set...

Ford's farewell on S. Pedro do Sul stages.

Lisbon (Portugal), November 21, 2002 - Team Ford Galp Energia Racing is ready to face the Sport/Rota do Dão Rally, the last event of the 2002 Portuguese Rally season, based on the same objectives set throughout the last two years: to fight for victory, at the same time that offers the Portuguese rally fans all the show associated to the World Rally Cars!

Together, Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata will take the Ford Dealer Network and Galp Energia sponsored Focus WRC as far as possible, aiming to the final victory. Having that, this result would allow a perfect ending to a um program that, although it didn't run quite as expected at its beginning, for many times gave reasons to celebrate to those who have run it over the past two rally seasons.

For that matter, the Sport Clube do Porto will organize an event that the driver says to be "very interesting and technical, with lots of driving, but also tough for drivers and machines, due to the relatively high mileage on each section. It is a very pleasant rally, almost alike the previous edition. There's only one new stage, while the others either have been extended - the SS1 is 10 km longer and SS2 has about four new kilometres - or have been combined on a single stage".

On a single leg to be held near Viseu throughout next Saturday, more exactly around S. Pedro do Sul, the Sport/Rota do Dão rally will have five different stages, on three rounds. The two initial rounds will be identical, including the stages of Carvalhais/Serra da Arada (16.6 km), Manhouce/Sta. Cruz da Trapa (11.9 km) and S. Macário/Sul (13.7 km). After lunch, the drivers will exit Service Area to face a double go through the 22.3 km of Senhora do Castelo/Vouzela SS, divided by the small Muna stage, with only 8.3 km.

This particular rally will also close a rally cycle in Portugal where, since 1998 until now, the Group A WRC class vehicles were allowed present. On those, Ford has set its undeleted presence, both with the Ford Galp Energia Racing project and the sporadic visits from Ford's M-Sport works cars, and also through the results of the private Peres Competições team, illustrating at the dimension of our country a little bit of the World Rally Championship that, on a recent past, regularly paid a visit on the Portuguese roads. Due to the discussible proposed rules changes for next year, the rally cars that marvelled the Portuguese fans, on a demonstration of the maximum rally car high-tech, will only be allowed to return to Portugal on our European Rally Championship events! And even that only on 2003, as the rules will change again the following year.

But, even before that new rally cycle is launched, the Ford Focus WRC will have to face the rally's 339.8 km. During the last couple of days, Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata have made the official recees of the 72.8 km from the five different stages, representing altogether 137.3 km against the clock. As for the stages status, these are "very slippery, with some mud and tree leaves, while we still have to consider the poor weather conditions, with rain, thunderstorms and fog", said the driver. Tomorrow morning, the team will perform the usual shakedown, followed by a final afternoon test. The Sport/Rota do Dão rally starts, very early on the following day (07h00) and ends at Viseu around 18h04.

-fger-

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Series RALLY