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GP Week : Issue 156
WRC >>> NEWS The second half of the 2012 world championship, starting end of June in New Zealand, cannot come soon enough for the Mini Portugal team driver Armindo Araujo: “We have seven events to come this year, all of them events I know, and with the exception of Sardinia are all on smoother roads. “When our team was restructured before Sweden we had a specific aim, to finish rallies in the top 10. Things are going in the right way. We finished in the top 10 in Monte Carlo and Mexico, and we were in line to do the same again in Portugal, Argentina and Greece, before we had frustrating problems. “Only in Sweden did I feel we were less likely to get a top the position, and in any case we then had some technical problems on that event. It was only in Argentina that we failed to qualify as a finisher, because our problems came on the final morning and we were stranded on a stage.” Much of the first half of the season has been marked by either turbocharger troubles or problems related to the suspension on rougher roads. Araujo made the major step into World Rally Car competition in 2011 after winning back-to back FIA world champion titles in the PCWRC in 2009 and 2010, working with the same people in Italy who helped him to the earlier Mitsubishi titles but now with Mini. The step-up to full manufacturer team status just before Sweden came as a big surprise, which led to him being able to compete in a full championship season rather than concentrate on selected rallies. Benefiting from his previous WRC experience in Group N, only Monte Carlo and Argentina were new events for Armindo and the two really daunting events were Sweden and Finland: “We have been learning a lot, especially understanding how vital is a full programme of pre-event testing. So far we have been using the 01A version car on events but I hope we have the chance to use the 01B later in the season. I think we have been driving well this year. Apart from our testing accident in Greece, a mistake on the first day in Monte Carlo which cost us four minutes and one place, and a mistake in our pacenotes in Portugal (5 minutes and a couple of places), I have been happy with my driving so far. “The rallies between now and the end of the year will give us a lot of opportunities, and we cannot wait to start the second half of the season down again in New Zealand.” SMOOTHER DAYS AHEAD FOR ARMINDO? Araujo (right) with Mini Portugal Chief Engineer Richard Thompson 18 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: