Brazil World Rally Team returns to the scenery where they broke into the FIA World Rally Championship last year to make its 2012's debut in the fourth round of the series, Rally de Portugal (March 29th - April 1st), with Brazilian driver Daniel Oliveira on his Ford Fiesta WRC.
Encouraged by this new project, -the South American team will be running alongside Manfred Stohl's Stohl Racing-, this will be the first time for Oliveira tackling some stages he already knows, albeit some changes introduced by the organizers in regards to last year's edition. "I remember a few things of this rally. There are fast and bumping stages I really enjoyed last year. As for the new stages, I've learned they are the hardest ones we will be tackling" said Oliveira.
As in 2011. the event will be based in the city of Faro, in the Southern region of Algarve, but action will kick off once again in Lisbon, Portugal´s capital, with a Super Special stage around Praça do Imperio on the afternoon of Thursday 29 March. This time, the almost 300km trip from Faro to Lisbon will pay off since crews will now tackle three special stages in quick succession on their way back to the Service Park at Algarve Stadium.
After a slightly delayed start owing to the late finish on Thursday (the first stage of the day starts at midday), competitors will head to the Tavira, -a popular touristic resort 30km to the East of Faro- for the firs t time since 2007, for three repeated stages on Friday. For this new challenge Oliveira will run, once more, counting on the experience of his Portuguese co-driver Carlos Magalhaes, in charge of guiding him on board the Ford Fiesta WRC.
"They are the typical hilly, technical and sometimes bit slow stages. There will be lots of loose stones, particularly during the second runs. This could turn out to be quite destructive for cars" explained Magalhaes.
The BWRT pair will also have to deal with new rules like the Qualifying Stage, which came to replace the shakedown and to determine the running order for the first day of action. "It seems interesting. It's a way to encourage drivers to push to get the best place possible for the starting. It seems fair. I expect to perform w ell on it since it's crucial in most of the gravel rallies and in Portugal the first three stages are been running at night" stated Oliveira.
The route. Before starting the rally drivers will fight for the right to select their road position for the opening day of the event by tackling the 4.96-kilometre Vale do Judeu qualifying stage on the morning of Wednesday 28 March. Besides the new stages introduced on Friday, Saturday's format is unchanged from 2011 with the same three stages run twice, although the Power Stage on Sunday has been trimmed significantly in length to increase the spectacle for fans watching the live television coverage. Rally de Portugal comprises 22 special stages and 434.77 of competitive kilometres, 5 stages and 50km more than 2011's edition.