Rally de Portugal
Dennis Kuipers On Familiar Ground
The FERM Power Tools World Rally Team returns to Europe for the third round of the FIA World Rally Championship this week, the Vodafone Rally de Portugal. Dennis Kuipers and Frédéric Miclotte hope to benefit from their previous experiences on the gravel roads in the Algarve.
The race is challenging, the unpaved roads are narrow and winding. The hills, trees and boulders along the road provide the Rally de Portugal with extra character.
The 2011 edition is, apart from the Super Special Stage in Lisbon and the Power Stage during the final day, almost identical to last year’s event. Last year Kuipers and Miclotte finished 19th with the Ford Fiesta S2000.
"This is the first rally this year which I know fairly well. By using last year’s pace notes as a starting point, we can now focus more on detail when we do our recce" said Kuipers.
Good pace notes are particularly important in this rally, underlines Miclotte: "Compared to Mexico this rally is a lot more technical. The speed is lower, the roads are much narrower and along the roads are huge rocks. You need to drive clean to reduce the chances of punctures. "
The FERM World Rally Team has been thoroughly preparing for this rally. Besides studying the onboard footage from 2010, Dennis Kuipers attended the test of the Ford factory team before he tested the Ford Fiesta RS WRC on Monday afternoon.
Kuipers is very pleased that several countrymen join the WRC in Portugal. Peter van Merksteijn starts in a Citroen WRC DS3, Timo van der Marel joins from the WRC Academy in a Ford Fiesta R2. "It is great to see Peter and Timo here, it shows the WRC is vivid and growing in importance in the Netherlands."