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Portugal (WRC) - 30 Mar - 1 Apr 07

Posted: April 2, 2007 3:34 PM - 7035 Hits

Round 5 - 2007 FIA World Rally Championship

  • Ford Focus RS WRCs of Gronholm, Hirvonen, Latvala, H. Solberg, Wilson, MacHale receive 5 min Penalty
  • Donegal's Gallagher 7th in JWRC
  • Good Going for MacHale World Rally Team in Portugal
  • Citroen Two for Two in Portugal

Posted: April 2, 2007 3:34 PM


Ford Focus RS WRCs of Gronholm, Hirvonen, Latvala, H. Solberg, Wilson, MacHale receive 5 min Penalty
Car Nos 3, 4, 9, 10, 16, 23 – Ford Focus RS WRCs of Gronholm, Hirvonen, Latvala, H. Solberg, Wilson, MacHale

  The Stewards of the rally issued the following statement at 21.15hrs:

  “The Stewards initially received a written report from the FIA Technical Delegate which stated that the rear side windows (right and left) of Car No.3, Entrant BP-Ford World Rally Team, crew Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen did not comply with the homologation form of the car.

  The Stewards subsequently received another report from the FIA Technical Delegate which stated that the identical windows of cars No.4, No.9, No.10, No.16 and No 23 did not conform with the homologation requirements also.

  The stewards then summoned the entrants of all the above cars to them.

  Car No.23, Mr. Gareth MacHale was not represented.

  The following were present: Mr. John Millington, Team Manager, accompanied by Mr. Christian Loriaux, Technical Director and Mr. Jost Capito, Director Ford Team RS, Ford of Europe.

  When confronted with the evidence that the side windows measured 3mm instead of the minimum 3.5mm, the Ford representatives stated that the windows, which are made of polycarbonate, are manufacturer by a reputed manufacturer who is aware of the requirement of homologation and furthermore has been making these types of windows for a number of years.

  The representatives confirmed that they had erred in not measuring the thickness of these windows before their fitment.

  The representatives further stated that a reduction of 0.5mm was really inconsequential as far as an attempt to attain a benefit was concerned.  

The stewards agreed that a benefit was not the issue. The issue was that a technical regulation had been breached and of that there was no doubt.

  The stewards then conferred amongst themselves at length seeking a solution that would be apt under the circumstances and decide to levy a five-minute time penalty on each of the above cars as well as a penalty of a reprimand to each of the entrants for the carelessness displayed in using an incorrect part.”

  The official results for the event are now:

  1.       Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena                 Citroen C4                          3:53:33.1
2.       Petter Solberg/Phil Mills                       Subaru Impreza WRC +3:13.9
3.       Dani Sordo/Marc Marti                        Citroen C4                          +5:05.3
4.       Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen         Ford Focus RS                              +5:37.1
5.       Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen             Ford Focus RS                              +7:08.1
6.       Daniel Carlsson/Denis Giraudet              Citroen Xsara WRC               +8:13.2
7.       Gigi Galli/Giovanni Bernacchni               Citroen Xsara WRC               +9:39.6
8.       Jari-Matti Latvala/Miika Anttila             Ford Focus WRC                  +10:44.9
9.       Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor                      Citroen Xsara WRC               +12:46.0
10.   Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene               Ford Focus RS04                 +13:51.6


Donegal's Gallagher 7th in JWRC
Donegal's Shaun Gallagher, who finished as top "Rookie" in the FIA World Junior Rally Championships on Rally Portugal this weekend is now sitting in joint eighth place overall in the Championship points standing.

World Rally Team Ireland driver Gallagher and co-driver Clive Jenkins finished the event seventh overall, picking up two Championship points in the process.  "An excellent result here for us in Portugal and we are delighted to be sitting in the top ten Junior Drivers in the world.  We're aiming to keep running good events in the coming rounds; we want that Rookie title and we want to finish as high in the Championship as possible," he said.

The results from the FIA Junior Championship Rally Portugal were:
* P. Andersson    4:22:43.4
* U. Aava (EST)    4:22:47.1
* J. Beres (SLO)    4:30:32.2
* J. Molder (EST)    4:34:39.9
* A Cortinovis (I)    4:37:37.2
* M Rueda (S)    4:33:38.1
* S Gallagher (IRL)    4:49:23.3
* V Rozukas (LIT)    4:55:58.3
* K Pinomaki (FIN)    4:58:22.3
* C Rautenbach(ZIM)          4:58:25.9


Good Going for MacHale World Rally Team in Portugal
Gareth MacHale and Paul Nagle have finished in 13th overall place in Rally Portugal, despite problems on the second leg that left them without pace-notes.  The pair also posted the third fastest time on the final stage of the event behing the two Citroen Total Competitors and ahead of the Ford Factory teams.

  Speaking from Portugal, Gareth said:  “It was fabulous to finish the event on a high and have the third fastest time on the Super Special Stage in the Algarve Stadium. We really drove our own rally this weekend, wanting to be sure we finished the event with solid times and as much experience under our belts in the World Rally Championships (WRC) as we can.  It was a good result to finish so high up the rankings here after our disappointment in Mexico a few weeks ago.”

  MacHale and Nagle’s next WRC outing will be in Sardinia in May, with their next home appearance scheduled to be the Donegal International Rally in June.  

Reigning World Champion Sebastian Loeb in his Citroen C4 WRC won the event ahead of BP Ford’s Marcus Grohnholm, who is currently leading the driver’s Championship.  BP Ford’s Mikko Hirvonnen rounded out the podium finishers.


Citroen Two for Two in Portugal
Reigning World Rally Champion Sebastian Loeb scored maximum driver’s points finishing in first place in Rally Portugal today.  

Fellow Citroen Driver, Donegal’s Shaun Gallagher finished Top “Rookie” in the FIA Junior Championship and picked up another Championship point in the process, his second points finish in consecutive events.  

Irish competitors Gareth MacHale and Paul Nagle secured a 13th overall finish, with a solid pace and clean driving, despite losing intercoms on yesterdays’ stages and being unable to use their pace-notes as a result.  The pair had an exceelent finish to the event, racking up the third fastest time on the event's final stage in the Algarve Stadium ahead of their fellow Ford competitors Marcus Grohnholm and Mikko Hirvonnen.  

Finland’s Grohnholm was the fastest through to of this morning’s stages, but was unable to catch up to the Frenchman Loeb, who won the event by 37.1 seconds.  Grohnholm maintains the lead in the driver’s championship by two points.  His BP Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonnen finished in third place, with fourth going to Subaru’s Petter Soldberg from Norway and the Citroen of Danni Sordo from Spain finishing fifth.  

Portugal is the fifth of 16 rounds of the World Rally Championship.  Rally Ireland, the penultimate round which takes place in November, is due to announce the route and location for its event, this week.  



PRE EVENT NEWS
  • MacHale on the Loose in Portugal
  • Gallagher Eyes the Prize in Portugal
  • Irish Duo for Rally Portugal
  • Portugal superspecial test "A success"
  • One week to go and all on course for Vodafone Rallye de Portugal
  • Entry List available
  • FIA World Rally Championship returns to Portugal in 2007

27/03/07
MacHale World Rally Team duo Gareth MacHale and Paul Nagle take to the gravel stages of Rally Portugal this week as the fifth round of the World Rally Championships (WRC) gets underway.

“We’re really looking forward to getting out onto these new stages,” said Gareth.  “Mexico was a good primer for us on how the car handles on gravel, so we’ll use that experience and aim to finish the event as high in the rankings as we can.  We’re happy how things are going this year, putting in good performances in our three events to date this season and we want to build on that as the season progresses.”

The team finished as top privateers on the opening round of the Championships in Monte Carlo, but a broken track arm on Rally Mexico two weeks ago whilst holding a secure 9th overall position in the rankings ruled them out of points contention on that event.  They also secured a second place finish in the Galway International Rally in February.

Ten Ford Focus RS WRCs feature on the entry list of over 100 for the event.  MacHale and Nagle compete in the car driven to victory in three WRC rounds in the 2006 season by Marcus Grohnholm.  The remaining Fords coming from the manufacturers’ teams of  BP-Ford, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford and Munchi's Ford.   Andreas Mikkelsen and Guy Wilks compete in 2005-spec models

The rally is based at the Estádio Algarve in Faro, which was built for the 2004 European Soccer Championships, and which will host the Super Special Stage on Thursday evening.

 Competitors will cover just over 1,000 km during the three day event.  Formerly a mixed asphalt and gravel rally that covered much of the country, Portugal was named best rally in the championship on six occasions.  This year’s completely redesigned event will run in the Algarve, an area which has seen little national or international rallying. 


Gallagher Eyes the Prize in Portugal
Donegal’s Shaun Gallagher will be aiming to make it two in row this weekend as he competes in Rally Portugal on the Algarve.

On his first outing in the World Rally Team Ireland Citroen C2R2 last month at Rally Norway, Gallagher finished top Rookie on the event, securing a coveted World Championship Point in the FIA Junior Championship in the process.

Speaking in advance of the event, Gallagher said:  “This is going to be a tough event, but I’m in a good positive frame of mind after doing so well in Norway.  Given that Norway was the first competitive outing in the car for Clive Jenkins and I, we did have some kinks to work out, so hopefully the set-up we’re putting in place for Portugal will be right first time and we’ll be off to a flying start.”

Gallagher and Jenkins will compete in six rounds of the FIA World Rally Championships, their next event being in Sardinia in May.

Beginning on Thursday night with a super special stage in the Estadio Algarve, which was built for the 2004 European soccer championships, Rally Portugal will cover just over 1,000 kilometres of gravel stages in three days.  There are over 100 competitors on the event, with 21 entries in the FIA Junior category.


Irish Duo for Rally Portugal
Two Irish teams are set to take to the roads of the Algarve region of Portugal this week as the fifth round of the World Rally Championships (WRC) gets underway.

Donegal’s Shaun Gallagher will be looking to extend his lead in the FIA Junior Championships, where he is currently leading the Rookie class in his first year in the championships.  The World Rally Team Ireland Citroen C2R2 finished eighth in the Junior category on Rally Norway, giving Gallagher and co-driver Clive Jenkins their first Championship points.

In the WRC competition, Gareth MacHale and Paul Nagle will be hoping for better luck in their 2006 Ford Focus WRC than they had in Mexico two weeks ago when a broken track arm on the car caused by hitting a rock forced them to retire from the event on the second leg.  The pair had finished as the top private team in the first round in Monte Carlo in January.

Current Driver’s standings in the WRC see Finland’s Marcus Grohnholm in the lead just ahead of reigning Champion Sebastian Loeb from France.  Both drivers will be looking for a first place finish in Portugal in an entry field of 106 competitors.

Rally Ireland officials will be attending the event this weekend to meet the teams and further their preparations for when the Championship comes to Ireland in November this year for the first time ever.

Formerly a mixed asphalt and gravel rally that covered much of the country, Portugal was named best rally in the championship on six occasions.  This year’s completely redesigned event will run completely on gravel stages in the Algarve, an area which has seen little national or international rallying.  The speed tests blend fast, open roads and more technical special stages on hard gravel tracks, which are likely to be abrasive in the dry.  However, they become extremely slippery in the wet.

The rally is based at the Estádio Algarve in Faro, which was built for the 2004 European Soccer Championships.  The stadium hosts the service park, event administration, and is also the venue for a super special stage on Thursday.  Competitors will cover just over 1,000 km during the three day event.


Portugal superspecial test "A success"
The organisers of the Vodafone Rally de Portugal, the fifth round of the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship, hailed today’s test of the superspecial stage at the event base in the Algarve stadium a success.

The test was carried out by Vitor Teodosio, who will not be competing in the event itself, as competitors are not permitted on stages prior to the start of the official recce. Despite overnight rain making the tarmac surface extremely wet, Vitor was able to demonstrate that the 2.03Km test would provide an exceptional spectacle for the anticipated 30,000 fans expected for the first running on Thursday evening.

Vitor’s laps were impressive enough in his Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EvoVI and gave a hint of what is to come on Thursday evening, when World Rally Cars will compete in anger in Portugal for the first time in six years. However, on that occasion, they will be pitted head to head in the best tradition of superspecial stages and the 300bhp World Rally Cars will provide even more spectacle as they tackle the specially-built test.

For the fans, this will be the culmination of an evening full of entertainment, as there will be a series of demonstrations prior to the start of the live stage, by some of the most iconic rally cars from yesteryear. A Lancia Stratos, Lancia Delta S4 and an Audi Quattro are all making appearances on Thursday, driven by rally legends Markku Alen, Bjorn Waldegard and Ari Vatanen. A fitting precursor to Portugal’s return to the WRC.


23/03/07
One week to go and all on course for Vodafone Rallye de Portugal
With just a week to go until Portugal roars back onto the FIA World Rally Championship stage, the organisers of the season’s fifth round, the 2007 Vodafone Rally de Portugal have said they are delighted with the way the event is shaping up.

  The Algarve winter has been a mild one and with the exception of some rain several weeks ago, generally dry, so the stages to the north of Faro should be in excellent condition. Long range weather forecasts predict warm and sunny conditions in the run-up to the event; exactly the climate the Algarve is famous for in spring.

  Construction of the superspecial stage in the Algarve Stadium is almost complete. The track has been laid and is currently setting in the Portuguese sunshine. The organisers expect to be able to carry out the first live test of the stage on Saturday preceding the start of the event, when the stadium will reverberate to the sounds of rally cars for the first time.

  Ticket sales for the superspecial stages have exceeded all expectations, with both running of the stage sold out several weeks ago. Around 30,000 fans are expected to watch the first WRC stage on Portuguese soil for six years on Thursday evening, as well as the final stage of this year’s event and the finish ceremony on Sunday afternoon. Event sponsor Vodafone is running a variety of promotions around Portugal for the public to win tickets to both superspecials, demonstrating its commitment to the event.  

The organisers are also receiving the customary co-operation of the local authorities and Police as they prepare to welcome spectators and rally fans, not only from Portugal and neighbouring Spain but across Europe. The event’s legendary heritage is sure to bring huge crowds to the Algarve and as ever, public safety is paramount. The organisers are once again creating spectator zones, specifically developed to allow fans to see the best action in compete safety, with the full support of the local mayors and security staff.    

With the 2007 WRC running on European gravel for the first time in Portugal, many are keen to see how the competition develops over the three days. Few drivers will have any experience of the Algarve stages, though BP-Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen, currently lying third in the drivers’ championship will have some knowledge, having finished second in Portugal in 2005. However, he was at the wheel of a group N Subaru on that occasion, so his Ford Focus RS World Rally Car will feel very different this time round.  

The only driver who has any World Rally Car experience is Dani Sordo, fourth in the championship currently. Sordo drove the zero car on the event in 2006, a Citroen Xsara WRC but in that role, was focussed on safety rather than outright speed. However, he also won the two-wheel drive category in 2005, so if anyone will have an advantage, it may well be him. With the Citroen C4’s pace on gravel already established, he could well be one to watch…

  Of course, team-mate Sebastien Loeb will be riding high from a dominant performance in Mexico but Marcus Gronholm has already predicted that Loeb won’t have it so easy when the series returns to Europe. And the Subaru team should also not be discounted. Its new car had a strong showing in Mexico, with Petter Solberg leading the event before retiring with engine damage.

  Another huge draw to the rally will be Portuguese Rally Champion and 2006 event winner, Armindo Araujo, who will be competing in a Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally Car. Araujo is contesting the 2007 Production car World Rally Championship and finished an excellent fourth in his first event, the Swedish International Rally in February. The support of Portuguese rally fans and the Mitsubishi importer have allowed him to compete on his home event in equal machinery to demonstrate his potential.

  One thing is sure though; the FIA World Rally Championship will be welcomed as an old friend when it returns to Portugal next week.


11/03/07
Entry List available
Entry list for Portugal has been published.
  • Michael Orr is codriving for Matthew Wilson @ 16
  • Gareth MacHale/Paul Nagle are seeded at 23, just ahead of Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh
  • Shaun Gallagher/Clieve Jenkins continue their JWRC campaign and will retain no 46 for the year.
Full Entry List on:
07/07/07
FIA World Rally Championship returns to Portugal in 2007
The PT Rally of Portugal was today chosen to be included in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship; a just reward for two years of unending work by the organisers of one of the most iconic events in rallying’s history. The news was confirmed in an FIA press release issued following today’s meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

The PT Rally of Portugal’s inclusion in the 2007 WRC comes after two years running as a Candidate Event. Earning a reputation for exceptional organisation, facilities and competition, both events took place in the beautiful scenery of the Algarve, the location for the 2007 event.

The organisers satisfied the criteria laid down by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, yet retained the spirit of what was widely regarded as one of rallying’s favourite events. A host of stars of rallying, including Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen, Markko Martin and Dani Sordo praised the organisers’ efforts and the choice of stages which made up the events.

Last forming part of the WRC in 2001, Portugal is once more in the international motorsport spotlight. And the country has pledged to demonstrate yet again its capacity for organising major sporting events.

The welcome return of the Rally de Portugal is a direct result of the efforts of the Automovel Club de Portugal (ACP), led by Carlos Barbosa, and comes exactly two years after Mr Barbosa was elected President. A team of experienced professionals has worked continuously to make Portugal’s dream of returning to the WRC a reality.

The news is also a fitting reward for the support of the Portuguese Federation (FPAK), the government, the Algarve Tourist Board and all of

the event sponsors. In particular, Portugal Telecom (PT) and the Portuguese Bank of Investment (BPI) embraced the efforts to return Portugal to the pinnacle of rallying.

The 2007 PT Rally of Portugal will take place in the Algarve region of Portugal between 30 March – 1 April 2007.

Topics: Portugal (WRC) 

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