Miguel Campos (Peugeot/BFGoodrich): so close to a points finish! Miguel Campos and Paulo Babo were lying eighth overall with their BFGoodrich- and Portugal- liveried Peugeot 207 S2000 on this weekend'sVodafone Rally de Portugal when they were ...
Miguel Campos (Peugeot/BFGoodrich): so close to a points finish!
Miguel Campos and Paulo Babo were lying eighth overall with their BFGoodrich- and Portugal- liveried Peugeot 207 S2000 on this weekend'sVodafone Rally de Portugal when they were cruelly sidelined 45km from home on the road section back to the end-of-rally parc ferme in the Algarve Stadium. The next port of call for the BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation is the Rallye d'Ypres (June 27-28). The driver for the Belgian event will be named on May 28.
The 2003 European Rally Championship runner-up Miguel Campos was selected by Portugal's motor sport governing body, a panel of journalists, rallying's benchmark tyre brand BFGoodrich and Kronos Racing to drive a Peugeot 207 S2000 on the 2008 Vodafone Rally de Portugal, round two of this year'sIntercontinental Rally Challenge.
A test session was organised near Almodovar prior to the start to give the 35-year old a chance to familiarise himself with the 2007 IRC-winning car and also sample the BFGoodrich range of gravel rally tyres. After that, the Portuguese driver finally got the BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation off to a flying start in front of thousands of fans on Thursday evening's super-special through the streets of Faro.
The serious business began the following day, however, in the Algarve hills where Miguel Campos posted the eighth fastest time on SS2 running on medium compound g-Force Gravel tyres. Unfortunately, he then lost about a minute on SS4 when he was unsighted by the dust thrown up by a competitor running ahead of him on the road. Despite this setback, he kept his calm and stayed focused to return to the lunchtime service halt in 13th place, although that wasn't to be the end of his headaches--
The tyre choice for Friday afternoon's three stages wasmade particularly complex when heavy rain started to fall over the service park just as drivers were weighing up their options. According to the latest information, though, the stages were still dry and, with advice from his BFGoodrich technician and Kronos Racing personnel, Miguel gambled on dry conditions and opted for hard compound g- Force Gravels.
The first test of the loop was damp, but once again the BFGoodrich Drivers Team ambassador kept a cool head and went on to complete the opening leg inside the top-ten, preceded by a former European Champion and ahead of a former Junior World Champion, no less!
The second and final leg took survivors further to the north for a loop of three long stages to be contested twice each. Miguel Campos and his new co-driver Paulo Babo kept to the same quick pace and put in a particularly consistent run as many of their rivals were caught out by the demanding gravel roads.
The Portuguese pair had moved up to eighth position and were chasing Manfred Stohl, the fastest privateer in the 2006 World Rally Championship, when their alternator brought their excellent run to a halt after the final stage. The 45km of road section remained to be covered to reach the final parc ferme proved too much. Despite this terrible conclusion to his weekend, Miguel Campos produced an excellent performance which did justice to the colours of Portugal and BFGoodrich alike.
Quotes from Portugal:
Jacques Morelli (IRC Programme Manager, BFGoodrich):
"Despite the final outcome, the BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation was a big success. Miguel didn't put a single scratch on his Peugeot 207 and didn't suffer the slightest puncture. On top of that, he was on target to finish in the points. What a shame, but I suppose that's rallying--"
Michel Ducher (BFGoodrich technician): "It was a pleasure working with Miguel and Paulo this weekend. They are both very conscientious and
took in all the advice they were given. As it turned out, they made the right choice when they opted for the harder compound for Friday afternoon's stages, even though it didn't seem to be the ideal choice at the time, especially when they came across rain on the first stage of the loop. But Miguel didn't put a foot wrong. On top of that, he's an experienced driver who was able to give us good feedback about the tyres he used. It was a very positive operation."
Marc Van Dalen (Team Manager, Kronos Racing):
"Sport can be so cruel at times! Retiring so close to the finish was a bitter blow. But that's rallying and both Kronos Racing and BFGoodrich fully respect the rule that precludes anybody from helping a crew outside of the service park. His Peugeot's alternator failed at the end of SS11, but held for the next two stages, although it didn't last for the final 60km run-in to the finish. The operation was nevertheless a great success, and much of that was down to Miguel himself. He did a first class job all weekend. I can't wait, now, for Ypres and the next phase of the 2008 BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation..."