CASINOS DO ALGARVE RALLY - FINAL
4th place overall for Rui Madeira/Fernando Prata
Monte Gordo, October 27, 2001 - The 2001 edition of the Casinos do Algarve Rally, an event where Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata were nearly 12 secs apart from a podium place, has come to an end. Due to this result and when Peugeot gets another double, Ford Galpenergia Racing team has put aside its chances of conquering the titles in dispute.
The battle began early in the morning, on the first round of the only three stages that - with the exception of yesterday's superspecial stage - define this Casinos do Algarve Rally. At Serra de Tavira, the Ford Focus WRC pair got the 4th best score, repeating it at Terra de Loulé. As for the Tavira stage, Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata got the 3rd fastest time there, climbing a step on the ranking, swapping places with Adruzilo Lopes (Peugeot), who suffered a puncture.
"The stages, namely in Tavira, have many rocks on the sides", said the driver while entering the first Service Area. "This is a spring rally, where we have to go flat all the way through, as the time eventually lost will be very difficult to recover".
Before lunch, the Ford drivers went back to the road to their 2nd round of stages. This time, although improving their previous records, they weren't able to be better than 4th in all the stages. While entering the service area for the second time in the day, they were placed equal on the overall ranking. In fact, up to the end of the rally, the Galpenergia and Ford Dealer Network livered Focus WRC wouldn't go any further, which left the team definitely away from the title contention.
"Unfortunately, that's it", said the driver. "As unbelievable as it seems, this time we weren't able to catch the pace of Pedro Chaves. It became obvious that the final result of this rally was far behond our expectations, as we had to get a good position in order to postpone the title issue for the last rally. We weren't able to do it!"
As for the future, "our main objective becomes to carefully prepare the Sport Dão Lafões Rally, although at this stage we might not have solved our main handicap, with the tyres, while the Ford Focus WRC continues to be working like a clock. For 2002 nothing is yet decided in this dominium, although we are presently considering all the options, although it is premature to advance with anything more at this stage", said Team Director, Anabela Correia, who also presented the "congratulations to Peugeot, both for this new victory and for the fact that it goes to the last round to decide the driver's title among their two teams".
Final Classification (Provisional): 1st M. Campos/C. Magalhães (Peugeot), 1h01m01.9s; 2nd A. Lopes/L. Lisboa (Peugeot), at 27.4s; 3rd P. Chaves/S. Paiva (Toyota), at 1m02.8s; 4th Ford Galpenergia Racing - Rui Madeira/Fernando Prata (Ford Focus WRC), at 1m15.5s; 5th V. Lopes/J. Janela (Citroën), at 3m16.5s; 6th P. Leal/L. Ramalho (Mitsubishi), at 4m21.6s (...).
2001 Portuguese Rally Championship (after Round 9 of 10)
Drivers: 1st A. Lopes, 46 pts; 2nd M. Campos, 38 pts; 3rd Rui Madeira, 32 pts; 4th P. Chaves, 29 pts; 5th P. D. Silva, 11 pts; 6th T. Laukanen and F. Peres, 10 pts; (...)
Co-Drivers: 1st L. Lisboa, 46 pts; 2nd C. Magalhães, 38 pts; 3rd Fernando Prata, 32 pts; 4th S. Paiva, 29 pts; 5th M. Castro, 11 pts; 6th K. Lindstrom and J. Silva, 10 pts; (...)
Manufacturers: 1st Peugeot, 78 pts; 2nd Ford, 44 pts; 3rd Mitsubishi, 39 pts; 4th Toyota, 28 pts; 5th Subaru, 20 pts; 6th Citroën, 15 pts; 7th Fiat, 3; 8th Hyundai, 1
-Ford Galpenergia Racing-