ERC: Ford Galpenergia Racing Vinho Madeira Rally preview

VINHO MADEIRA RALLY Ford Focus WRC première on the Portuguese gravel Lisboa, July 31, 2001 - The Vinho Madeira Rally to be held from next Thursday, August 2nd throughout the main island of this archipelago, will mark the Ford Galpenergia Racing...

VINHO MADEIRA RALLY
Ford Focus WRC première
on the Portuguese gravel

Lisboa, July 31, 2001 - The Vinho Madeira Rally to be held from next Thursday, August 2nd throughout the main island of this archipelago, will mark the Ford Galpenergia Racing team Focus WRC première on the Portuguese tarmac.

It is high the expectation created around this event, almost similar to those of the World Championship. "It is a fact that this, as usual, will be a very tough and demanding rally, both for drivers and cars, in an event that will have several foreign well equipped teams", said Rui Madeira.

As for the rally itself, "although this edition is very similar to last year's one, there are several small differences that we have been identifying throughout the official reconnaissance session, which began last Sunday. But everything is running smoothly, with no problems, although the weather is not helping, as it has rained a lot, particularly yesterday, Monday".

The Ford Galpenergia Racing driver also stated that "an huge expectation hangs over both our team's and the Ford Focus WRC premières on tarmac roads. This is, nevertheless, the ideal rally to a première like this, as the Tap/Rally of Portugal was for the gravel. It is a long rally, with many stages, some of them big, being very demanding for the drivers and mechanics, namely gearboxes, brakes and engines".

After Azores' set-back, "we will try to run the best we can, taking all the advantages of the excellent potential of the Ford Focus WRC on tarmac, which we were able to check two weeks ago, on our test in England with M-Sport, as well as with the new tires that Pirelli will supply us. All this allows us to start very optimistic this Vinho Madeira Rally".

With the official reconnaissance to end up later today, Rui Madeira and Fernando Prata were able, on the meanwhile, to have a first contact with their Ford Focus WRC, which will have number 6 on the doors for this event. "This first test went very well, although we faced some initial difficulties in the car's set-up with the available tires. But, once we overcame that, we managed to reduce to two the tire options, so we can consider that a major part of the work is done. As far as suspensions and global set-up, we think we manage to find an optimal compromise, so all we have to do now is wait for tomorrow afternoon official shakedown session to adjust the final settings. Also, the existence of the several Service Areas throughout the rally will allow us to change the car's set-up, gradually adapting it to the existing conditions".

As for final goals, "if an overall win is a dream that everyone in the team would like to see come true, the more predictable reality will make us try to achieve the place of Best Portuguese Team, granting some more points that will surely be very valuable for the drivers and makes championships final scores as soon as the year comes to an end", said the Portuguese driver.

The Vinho Madeira Rally, the 6th round of the Portuguese Rally Championship and also counting for the European Rally Championship (coef. 20), has two legs, divided into three days. On the first day (Thursday, August the 1st) there's only a 2.05 km Super Special Stage, drawn on the streets of Funchal. On Friday, the drivers will tackle the other 15 SS that complete the rally 1st Leg. Finally, on Saturday, the drivers will resume it for the last 10 stages. In length, this Sata Rally Azores has 277,52 km against the clock, of a total of 903,76 km to fulfill.

2001 Portuguese Rally Championship (after 5 of 10 events)

Drivers: 1st Rui Madeira, 24 pts; 2nd A Lopes, 20 pts; 3rd P Chaves, 14 pts; 4th T. Laukanen and F Peres, 10 pts; 6th H Franco, 8 pts; (...)

Co-Drivers: 1st Fernando Prata, 24 pts; 2nd L Lisboa, 20 pts; 3rd S Paiva, 14 pts; 4th K. Lindstrom and J. Silva, 10 pts; 6th M Castro and D Costa, 7 pts; (...)

Manufacturers: 1st Ford, 37 pts; 2nd Mitsubishi, 32 pts; 3rd Peugeot, 20 pts; 4th Subaru, 13 pts; 5th Toyota, 12 pts; 6th Citroen, 9 pts; (...)

-Ford Racing

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Rui Madeira , Fernando Prata
Teams Citroën World Rally Team , M-Sport