More twists and turns for Araújo at Rally de Portugal
For the second year in a row the Vascão stage caused heartache for WRC Team MINI Portugal's No.1 driver Armindo Araújo as he retired for the day after breaking a suspension arm on his MINI John Cooper Works WRC. The Portuguese driver as always flanked by his experienced co-driver Miguel Ramalho will restart under Rally 2 regulations hoping to wow the crowds on the final day of Rally de Portugal.
After a wrong set-up choice, Araújo had a difficult run through the morning loop of the day. The weather conditions having changed dramatically since yesterday, Araújo's MINI was too soft to face the drier gravel roads of the third day of Rally de Portugal. Struggling to find a good rhythm and losing confidence, the national hero drove through the stages trying to do the best he could without making mistakes.
Back to the WRC Team MINI Portugal service area and a quick set-up change on his MINI left the Portuguese driver determined for a better run in the afternoon. The second loop of stages started on a high, with Araújo improving his pace on the Almodovar stage by over 30 seconds. However, his run was thwarted when disaster struck 13km into SS15 as a front-right impact broke the suspension arm on the same side forcing him to retire for the day.
Armindo Araújo : "We hit the front-right wheel of our MINI 13km into SS15 and we broke a suspension arm. Of course it's disappointing because we were starting to get our confidence back and our pace was improving but that is rally. This morning was really tough - the conditions changed a lot compared to yesterday, it was drier than I expected and the grip was better. Our MINI's set-up was too soft and we couldn't find a good rhythm so we lost some time - after midday service things were improving but then we had to stop on the same stage as last year. We'll restart tomorrow and do our best to get to the finish of our home event."
The fourth and final day of Rally de Portugal gets underway for WRC Team MINI Portugal tomorrow at 06:55 when the crew leave the Algarve Stadium to head north-west of Faro to run six competitive stages - two loops of three - covering a total of 115.08km.