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GP Week : Issue 140
Announced last week was the end of the Peugeot Sport Portugal team after 16 years in which the team participated in 148 events, gained 55 wins and seven Drivers and six Manufactures titles in the national series. Internationally their driver Miguel Campos finished vice- champion in the European Championship in 2003 and currently Bruno Magalhaes has been contesting the IRC. The team’s most recent major success was Magalhaes’s victory on the IRC Azores Rally in 2010 in a 207 S2000 car. The team always ran the most competitive Peugeot available, with Adruzilo Lopes achieving remarkable early results with a two-wheel-drive 306 Maxi followed by a 206 World Rally Car. The most successful drivers have been Lopes, Campos and Magalhaes, while the team’s Technical and Sporting Director Carlos Barros has had a career of sporting involvement with Peugeot from 1977, with the official 206 Turbo 16 world championship project with Ari Vatanen, Timo Salonen and Juha Kankkunen, then OR followed by successes in Paris-Dakar and Le Mans. Peugeot Portugal team shuts down Seven rally drivers have been included among 30 young race and rally drivers short-listed for the 18 eventually to be chosen to join the 2012 FIA Institute Academy. They are Craig Breen (Irish Republic), Andrew Haigh-Smith (South Africa), Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Brendan Reeves (Australia), Pontus Tideman (Sweden), Timo van der Marel (Netherlands) and Sepp Wiegand (Germany). The final selection will take place 15- 18 November, the week after Wales Rally GB, at Melk in Austria. The selection process will be headed by former racing driver Alex Wurz and former world rally champion co -driver Rober t Reid, based on driving and non-driving assessments. Five rally drivers were selected for the inaugural Academy process in 2011, among whom was Dutch driver Kevin Abbring, who will be one of the VW candidate drivers on the for thcoming Wales Rally GB. He explains some of the ways the Academy has helped him this year: “ The good thing is you discover a lot of things that you haven’t thought about before, like it’s very important to keep in touch with all the important people around you, in between the rallies as well as during the rallies. And in understanding what is going on with yourself. We drivers are always complaining about things in the car but without realising that sometimes it is yourself that is the problem. Sometimes it is you that has to adapt to the car, not the other way round.” Kevin has found there has been a lot to learn from working alongside racing drivers: “It’s quite funny actually. On the track they have got a totally different approach going round corners. For example, rally drivers lose time going into corners. We rally drivers brake a little bit earlier and go into the corner like much slower but we were gaining time at the exit. They really drive the car to the maximum performance level into the corner, maybe a bit more actually, just to feel some understeer which they kill immediately in mid-corner, and therefore get a balanced car at the exit. “ We like to have a little bit oversteer in the entry and then we can go on the throttle. If you have maybe 20 cars running on a stage in front of you, you will find on the perfect line a lot of loose gravel. We always need a margin of safety which is why we like a little bit oversteer. By going in the corner with a little bit on oversteer we avoid the car getting understeer.” It was announced last Thursday (27 October) that Kevin Abbring had won the 2011 Driver of the Academy award, heading the 12 competitors from the various motor sport disciplines elected for this FIA sponsored activity. Seven rally drivers FIA short-listed 50