Path to victory interrupted
S. Pedro do Sul, November 17, 2001 - The 2001 rally season has come to an end, unfortunately without the result that Ford Galpenergia Racing needed at this stage, which could allow Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata to reach the runner-up place on the Portuguese Rally Championship.
On the second stage in the afternoon - the first run on Vizela SS 8.3 km, they went off the road, not allowing the Ford Focus WRC to continue in the event. "We went off about 2 km before the end of the stage, when the car lost its grip and slid on a left turn", said Rui Madeira. "The intermediate tyres that we had were probably to hot and didn't 'grab' the necessary".
Implementing a strong pace from the beginning of the rally and taking all the advantages of the intermediate Pirelli PZero tyres, Madeira and Prata set the best times on all the first three morning stages, namely on Carvalhais/Sra. da Arada, S. Macário Sul (also on this one although with a puncture near its end) and Sul/Figueiredo de Alva. Aiming the same goal on the second run around the same stages, they were only able to do it on two, as Carvalhais/Sra. da Arada 2 was cancelled, creating a slight delay on the rally schedule.
"Everything has run smoothly so far, with the Pirelli tyres showing ideal for this type of surface. We are pushing the rhythm a bit on some stages which are a bit tricky, dry on some areas and no so much on other", said the driver when he reached the Service Area set in S. Pedro do Sul. For the afternoon they would want to maintain the pace and, if possible, manage the slight advance they had towards their main contenders, who promised a tough fight. On Sra. do Castelo SS the Ford team would reach a 2nd best time, but the following stage would end up definitively the rally and the season, with the off the road exit, with no consequences for the drivers.
The rally would be won by Pedro Matos Chaves (Toyota), on a singular end of season that has crowned Adruzilo Lopes and Luis Lisboa, as well as Peugeot, as the 2001 Portuguese Rally Champions.
1st P. M. Chaves/S. Paiva (Toyota)
2nd M. Campos/C. Magalhães (Peugeot)
3rd F. Peres/A. Manuel (Ford)
4th V. Lopes/J. Janela (Citroën)
5th P. Leal/L. Ramalho (Mitsubishi)
6th P. D. Silva/M. Castro (Mitsubishi)
Portuguese Rally Championship 2001 (after the 10th and last event):
1st A. Lopes, 46 pts
2nd M. Campos, 44
3rd P. M. Chaves, 39;
4th Rui Madeira, 32
5th F. Peres, 14
6th P. D.Silva and V. Lopes, 12
1st L. Lisboa, 46 pts
2nd C. Magalhães, 44
3rd S. Paiva, 39
4th Fernando Prata, 32
5th M. Castro and V. Lopes, 12
1st Peugeot, 84 pts
2nd Ford, 48
3rd Mitsubishi, 42
4th Toyota, 38
5th Subaru, 20
6th Citroën 18
7th Fiat, 3
8th Hyundai, 1