Ford Focus WRC gets some new features

Lisbon, October 22, 2001 - Due to the recent events of the past rally, Ford Galpenergia Racing team participation in the forthcoming Casinos do Algarve Rally includes some novelties. Some premières that, one expect, will allow Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata to keep intact their hopes on the titles.

"The accident experienced by the Ford Focus WRC drivers on the last section of the Casino de Espinho Rally made us anticipate some decisions that were only planned to take place next year", said Anabela Correia, Team Director.

The main change implemented on the car that started its successful career on the Tap/Rally of Portugal has to do with "its body shell, that it will now be a new one", said Anabela Correia. "As, in fact, the amount of damages due to the accident were significant, M-Sport has immediately reported that the Ford Focus WRC's body shell and other affected mechanical parts rebuilt process wouldn't be complete for the Casinos do Algarve Rally".

"Taking this into consideration, because we are presently challenging for the titles in dispute and also because our main sponsors - Galpenergia and Ford Dealer Network - and other partners - Ford Credit, Generali Group, Sacoor Brothers and DNC Publicidade - do deserve it, we have decided to go ahead with the new body shell, as well as with some other model evolution parts, namely the brakes".

So, Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata will challenge this year's penultimate event with a fully rebuilt Ford Focus WRC, in order to face a championship that is now under discussion by four teams.

As for the event itself, the recons will take place tomorrow. Then, there will be 10 special stages - 116.15 km against the clock, on an overall distance of 474.35 km. On Friday the drivers will tackle the Faro Superspecial Stage, while on Saturday they will face the three rounds around an equal number of stages.

"That's like a mini-rally, with around 100 km of special stages", said the driver who would "prefer to have longer stages, although these are the rules for this rally. As for the three rounds, it only gets our job easier during recons".

Although Madeira is not superstitious, he "wishes that the bad luck that has been with us since the Azores may stay lost somewhere inside the S. Pedro/Castelões stage. Now is the time for us to get that bit of luck, so we can postpone the titles decision for the last rally of the season. So, it is extremely important for us to get a strong result on the Algarve".

Let's recall that Ford Galpenergia Racing team will make available on the Internet, on, all the results of this Casinos do Algarve Rally, becoming possible to follow the performance of Rui Madeira/Fernando Prata's Ford Focus WRC.

2001 Portuguese Rally Championship (after Round 8 of 10) Drivers: 1st A. Lopes, 40 pts; 2nd Rui Madeira, 29 pts; 3rd M. Campos, 28 pts; 4th P. Chaves, 25 pts; 5th P. D. Silva, 11 pts; 6th T. Laukanen and F. Peres, 10 pts; (...)

Co-Drivers: 1st L. Lisboa, 40 pts; 2nd Fernando Prata, 29 pts; 3rd C. Magalhães, 28 pts; 4th S. Paiva, 25 pts; 5th M. Castro, 11 pts; 6th K. Lindstrom and J. Silva, 10 pts; (...)

Manufacturers: 1st Peugeot, 62 pts; 2nd Ford, 41 pts; 3rd Mitsubishi, 38 pts; 4th Toyota, 24 pts; 5th Subaru, 20 pts; 6th Citroën, 13 pts; (...)