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Report
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 5: RALLY DE PORTUGAL
1 APRIL 2007
LEG 3
LOCAL HERO ARAUJO IMPRESSES ON HIS DEBUT IN MITSUBISHI LANCER WRC05 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

ARMINDO ARAUJO / MIGUEL RAMALHO
 

RUI MADEIRA / NUNO SILVA
 

FERNANDO PERES / JOSÉ SILVA
 
Triple Portuguese champion Armindo Araujo made his World Rally Car debut on this week’s Rally of Portugal, his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship, impressing onlookers with the ease with which he switched from the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution he drives in the Production Car series to the Lancer WRC05. Despite limited testing before the event, the local hero was looking comfortable in the Lancer, missing out on a top ten place when he slid off the road on the penultimate gravel stage of the rally.

"Early in the rally, I was happy with the car," he said. "My confidence was coming all of the time. I was making changes to the Lancer to make it suit the conditions, which were never easy. We had a big moment in stage 10, when I went off the road at 170kp/h. Luckily for me, we came straight back on to the road without any damage to the car. The World Rally Car is incredible, everything is quite different to the Group N car – the power is amazing. My times were getting better in the stages as I was feeling more at home in the car. It is disappointing not to finish my home round of the championship, but now I will focus my attention on the remaining rounds of the Production Car WRC."

Araujo drove the sister Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 to Toni Gardemeister (Finland). Both cars were on the fringe of the top 10 through the opening leg, but there would be disappointment for Gardemeister on Friday evening. The Finn clipped a bridge on the third stage of the rally, damaging the left-rear wheel on his Lancer. He completed the following stage, minimizing the time loss, but was later excluded for driving on the liaison section without four tires on the car.

"I am very, very disappointed with this decision," said Gardemeister. "I didn’t drive far with the tire gone and I thought we would be okay. The recce for this rally had gone well and we could have made a good result."

This event was the return of the Rally of Portugal to the World Rally Championship for the first time since 2001. Having moved south to the Algarve, the organizers laid on a completely new route, introducing some of the most challenging stages in the series. Typically for Portugal, the weather was changeable, with Friday’s sunshine giving way to heavy overnight rain which made the Saturday morning stages treacherously slippery. The opening day of the event was north-east of Faro; Saturday took the crews furthest away from the host city for the longest leg and Sunday, reckoned by most drivers to be the most technical, included two repeated tests in the Serra de Caldeirao mountains. The dirt stages were book-ended by two runs around a purpose-built two-kilometer asphalt stage in the Algarve Stadium on the outskirts of Faro.

The early production car pace on the event was set by Eyvind Brynildsen (Norway), who arrived on the Atlantic coast on the back of a fine second in Group N in Rally Norway, but he slid off the road on the sixth stage. Fellow Mitsubishi driver Madeira, and co-driver Nuno Rodrigues Silva, took over at the front in the Serre de Tavira test.

Despite his Mitsubishi running well until the end of the event, he was unable to make up the time dropped in the dust and due to his turbo charger not meeting the strict technical specifications was excluded.

Sebastien Loeb (France) won the rally overall in his Citroen, with Subaru's Petter Solberg (Norway) and Loeb's Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo (Spain) finishing second and third respectively.

The next round of World Rally Championship is Rally Argentina (May 3-6), which qualifies as a round of the Production Car WRC.



 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M
Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
Citroen C4 A
1
3:53:33.1 **:**.*
2
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 2007 A
2
3:56:47.0 +3:13.9
3
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
Citroen C4 A
3
3:58:38.4 +5:05.3
4
M
Marcus Gronholm
Timo Rautiainen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
4
3:59:10.2 +5:37.1
5
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
5
4:00:41.2 +7:08.1
6
MT
Daniel Carlsson
Denis Giraudet
Citroen Xsara WRC A
6
4:01:46.3 +8:13.2
7 Gigi Galli
Giovanni Bernacchini
Citroen Xsara WRC A
7
4:03:12.7 +9:39.6
8
MT
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
8
4:04:18.0 +10:44.9
9
MT
Manfred Stohl
Ilka Minor
Citroen Xsara WRC A
9
4:06:19.1 +12:46.0
10 Andreas Mikkelsen
Ola Floene
Ford Focus RS WRC 04 A
10
4:07:24.7 +13:51.6
11
MT
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
11
4:09:45.5 +16:12.4
12 Matthew Wilson
Michael Orr
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
12
4:13:09.2 +19:36.1
13 Gareth MacHale
Paul Nagle
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
13
4:14:35.4 +21:02.3
14
J
Per Gunnar Andersson
Jonas Andersson
Suzuki Swift S1600 A
14
4:22:43.4 +29:10.3
15
J
Urmo Aava
Kuldar Sikk
Suzuki Swift S1600 A
15
4:22:47.1 +29:14.0
16 Patrick Flodin
Maria Andersson
Subaru Impreza N
1
4:26:41.1 +33:08.0
17 Bruno Magalhaes
Paulo Grave
Peugeot 207 S2000 N
2
4:28:41.2 +35:08.1
18
J
Jozef Beres
Petr Stary
Renault Clio S1600 A
16
4:30:32.3 +36:59.2
19 Vitor Pascoal
Joaquim Duarte
Subaru Impreza WRX N
3
4:31:52.0 +38:18.9
20 Jan Kopecky
Filip Schovanek
Skoda Fabia WRC A
17
4:33:33.3 +40:00.2
../
28 Fernando Peres
José Silva
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
7
4:50:47.5 +57:14.4
30 Jose Barreiro
Manuel Fuentes
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
9
4:52:11.2 +58:38.1
32 Igor Sokolov
Vasily Mirkotan
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
10
4:56:35.6 +1:03:02.5
39 Ricardo Costa
Nuno Almeida
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
13
5:11:05.8 +1:17:32.7
40 Alexander Villanuela
Arielle Tramont
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
14
5:12:19.2 +1:18:46.1
45 Valter Gomes
Paulo Santos
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
18
5:18:54.5 +1:25:21.4
46 Carlos Guimaraes
Nuno Gomes
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
19
5:19:23.5 +1:25:50.4
47 Eyvind Brynildsen
Engan Veronica
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
20
5:19:33.4 +1:26:00.3


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