Flawless Drive Nets Maiden Win For Daniel Carlsson In Portugal The second and final leg of the 2005 PT-Rallye de Portugal saw the competition remain just as fierce as on the opening day, on fast and flowing stages to the ...
Flawless Drive Nets Maiden Win For Daniel Carlsson In Portugal
The second and final leg of the 2005 PT-Rallye de Portugal saw the competition remain just as fierce as on the opening day, on fast and flowing stages to the north of the city of Faro. FIA World Rally Championship contender Daniel Carlsson arrived at the finish ramp in front of thousands of fans as winner, with a lead of just over a minute to second placed Mikko Hirvonen. The podium was rounded off by local works Mitsubishi driver Armindo Araujo in third place, claiming the win for the Portuguese Rally Championship.
Crews were greeted by wet roads as they arrived for the re-start at the Algarve Stadium. However, the day's stages themselves proved to be dry. Carlsson immediately set about consolidating the lead he built on the first day, with a further two stage wins from the first loop of three stages. "I'm now making sure I keep the gap to Mikko. It's important now that I stay on the road and as we say in Swedish, 'Knot the Sack'." He went on to maintain his advantage, through to the finish ramp. "I'm obviously very pleased with this result, especially when you look at the drivers that I have beaten to get here, including Mikko, who kept the pressure on all the way. It's my first outright rally win, so I will always remember it. The rally itself has been excellent, very well organised and very good fun. I have really enjoyed it."
Hirvonen claimed a stage win on the first test of the day and while staying in close touch with Carlsson, soon realised that catching him may prove too tall an order and therefore decided to settle for second place. "OK, so I didn't quite catch Daniel but I really enjoyed this rally. I think maybe if we had pushed a bit harder early on yesterday, we may have been able to get closer but I am happy with second - Daniel drove very well. For me, these stages themselves would be perfect for a World Rally Car - just the right combination of rhythm and speed."
Local driver Armindo Araujo continued at a pace to ensure the best result possible for his national Championship title hopes. However, he had also set his sights on the final podium position. "That was a tricky position - I wanted the result for the Portuguese Championship but also to finish on the podium in this event would be perfect for me. As it was, we had a fantastic fight with these rally greats and to have two Subarus and a Mitsubishi on the podium is excellent. A very good result for me and for Mitsubishi." Flying Finn Juha Kankkunen was also pushing hard, targeting the podium himself, but ultimately was to miss out by just twenty seconds, on his birthday and the 20th anniversary of his first WRC win. "Armindo was going very well and there was no way I was going to catch him. There was too much to risk, so I made sure I finished. Many people have been asking me if there is any reason that this event should not be in the FIA World Rally Championship. I can honestly say I have been looking and trying to think of a reason and I cannot. There is not one."
Fifth overall and first in Super1600 was Daniel Sordo, who again lead the class from start to finish. "A good result, yes. On the last stages, we did not lose too much time to Group N, because they were so fast. A good result for me and for Citroen." Second and third were the Renault team-mates of Jose Pedro Fontes and Pedro Matos Chaves.
Carrying out one of the most vital roles for the event, driving the '0' safety car, was former World Rally Champion, Carlos Sainz, navigated by long-time partner Luis Moya. "Generally, this event has been perfect," said Sainz. "The organisation, the spectator control, from a safety perspective, everything was perfect. I feel this rally was a complete package; the headquarters, the roads, the location, everything is right for it to be in the FIA World Rally Championship." Moya was also pleased with the event. "I have really enjoyed being back in the car. This rally was brilliant. I think it has everything it needs. I hope the FIA realises this and it will be back in the championship next year."
Commenting on the weekend's event, Clerk Of The Course, Pedro de Almeida said, "As a candidate event for the 2006 FIA World Rally Championship, we set ourselves three objectives for this year's rally. The first was to demonstrate that the Algarve is the right place for it, with the resources, the weather, the scenery and the quality of the stages. Secondly, we wanted to show that as an organising body, we were able to put together a long- term plan but with contingency options in place. And thirdly, the Portuguese spectators have, in the past, had a reputation for being difficult or impossible to control. We wanted to show that with the right information and motivation, they can be disciplined and enjoy a sport they love. I believe we have achieved those objectives.
President of the Organising Committee, Mario Martins da Silva, was similarly pleased with the efforts of the team: "For us, public safety was paramount and we are very pleased with the way that went. I feel that the public has helped us to show we are ready to be in the World Rally Championship. I am grateful to them for supporting us by following our safety guidelines. I'm also pleased with the coverage - televising two of the stages live is not an easy task but it was done very well. The local authorities also helped enormously and it would not have been possible without them or the local Police. Having the rally legends running against the younger drivers was as exciting as I hoped it would be and it is also good to be able to see how our national drivers compare with the WRC pilots. I have to say that we are extremely pleased with the way this event has gone. Work now begins on Monday morning to make it even better for the future, when we hope we will be part of the FIA World Rally Championship."
<pre> Provisional Results, 2005 PT-Rallye de Portugal
1. Daniel Carlsson, Mattias Andersson Subaru Impreza WRX 2:44:54.0 2. Mikko Hirvonen, Jarmo Lehtinen Subaru Impreza WRX +1:09.0 3. Armindo Araujo, Miguel Ramalho Mitsubishi Lancer EvoVIII +2:25.2 4. Juha Kankkunen, Juha Repo Subaru Impreza WRX +2:51.1 5. Daniel Sordo, Marc Marti Citroen C2 S1600 +3:49.4 6. Ricardo Teodosio, Paulo Primaz Mitsubishi Lancer EvoVII +6:20.3 7. Jose Pedro Fontes, Fernando Prata Renault Clio S1600 +7:54.2 8. Pedro Matos Chaves, Nuno Rodrigues Renault Clio S1600 +8:12.9 9. Carlos Guimaraes, Nuno Gomes Mitsubishi Lancer EvoVI +13:13.8 10. Vitor Lopes, Octavio Araujo Subaru Impreza WRX +13:52.7