CASINO DA PÃ“VOA RALLY The first match of the 2002 Portuguese rally season Lisbon (Portugal), February 6, 2002 - Everything is ready to roll within the Ford Galp Energia Racing team, as the kick-off rally of the 2002 Portuguese...
CASINO DA PÓVOA RALLY
The first match of the 2002 Portuguese rally season
Lisbon (Portugal), February 6, 2002 - Everything is ready to roll within the Ford Galp Energia Racing team, as the kick-off rally of the 2002 Portuguese Rally Championship approaches. Almost two months after the team's première season has come to an end, and as usual, the Targa Clube will have the opening honors, while organizer of the Casino da Póvoa Rally, although this year's edition will have tarmac instead of gravel.
"In a somewhat controversial decision and a very discussed one also, in fact, on this year's opening event we will count on tarmac as the rally ground", said driver Rui Madeira. "Due to that situation, we had a lot of homework to catch up with as, in my case, the last time I've run on these stages was back in 1994, although with my co-driver expertise and knowledge I had the situation very simplified. We have already revised some of our pace notes, namely on two special stages, while the rest are new or run the opposite direction towards the past editions".
As for the stages themselves, the weather forecast states that they will be run under rainy conditions. "Their layout is both twisty and sometimes very fast, which makes us to be on very absorbed on our tasks. The most demanding one might be Vilar de Mouros, a stage that one has to know very well, very fast, although, at first sight, one cannot predict it as such. Another one is Ponte de Lima/Caminha, as it's probably the most decisive stage on the rally, with its 23.1 km to be run twice. It's a very assorted special stage and probably one of the most beautiful among all the Portuguese rally stages. As far as the SuperSpecial Stage is concerned, the show itself is the main goal, namely for the crowds of public that usually follow it, although, on the other hand, it is also a very tricky one as we start it on cold tyres and also the sidewalks are always near by!"
Maintaining the fully revised Ford Focus WRC, Rui Madeira and co-driver Fernando Prata promise the Ford Galp Energia Racing team fans that they'll fight for overall victory, although they know that the challenge from Peugeot contenders will be big. At the same time they express their sorry for the fact that there are no more competitors able to challenge for the rally battle lead.
The Casino da Póvoa Rally will be held from next Friday (Feb. 8) evening onwards. The rally starts with the 1.9 km long Avenida dos Banhos SuperSpecial Stage. After this, during Saturday, there are 11 other stages. The 10.1 km Ponte de Lima/Vila Nova de Cerveira SS opens the day, followed by a double run on Ponte de Lima/Caminha (23.15 km) and Caminha/Vila Nova de Cerveira (11.5 km) Special Stages and a triple run on Paredes de Coura (9.8 km) and Ponte de Lima (8.6 km) SSs. All in all, the rally has 136.5 km of stages, included on an overall route of 386.75 km. The arrival is set to happen at local 18h50 at Póvoa de Varzim city.