Armindo Araújo returned to the competition, in the new normal that is being lived, having at the controls of the Skoda Fabia R5 been the winner of the 2020 edition of the Castelo Branco Rally, proof that Escuderia Castelo Branco put on the road and marked the resumption of the sport. Bruno Magalhães was the second fastest, while the national title rally champion, the Algarve Ricardo Teodósio, completed the podium.
The Castelo Branco Rally was the first event after the suspension of the activity caused by the pandemic, in which on the return to the competition, the list of entrants was complete with 85 competitors who did not hide their longing for the rallies. With seven sections and almost 100 kilometers against the clock, Escuderia de Castelo Branco prepared a version adapted to the period in which we live. Masks, alcohol gel and social distance became part of the lexicon and habits of all those who participated in the Castelo Branco Rally.
At a competitive level, Armindo Araújo arrived in Beira Baixa as the winner of the 2019 edition and leader of the championship after winning the first round of the year, the Serras de Fafe Rally. After winning with a Hyundai i20 R5 last year, Tirsense showed what came with the fastest time in the opening qualifying.
However, despite maintaining the leadership, on the first day he did not win again, whose privilege was for Bruno Magalhães, who in Hyundai i20 R5 established the best mark in the second section, and for José Pedro Fontes, who prevailed in the third special stage with the Citroën C3 R5.
Today, the second stage of the Castelo Branco Rally took place, in which the double passages through Dáspera – Salgueiral and Santo André das Tojeiras were the menu of the day and in which Armindo Araújo returned to be the best at the start, the difference for which competition was evident and this gave it room to manage. He left the first leg of the morning with 10.5 seconds less than the second classified, Bruno Magalhães, while José Pedro Fontes had a problem with his car and lost more than two minutes, the result of which was the second to 12th in the end of the season. first section.
The Algarve Ricardo Teodósio was more competitive than the day before, but still unable to win specials. Pedro Meireles and João Barros followed the first three at a distance.
In the afternoon section everything would be decided. In the last qualifying session of the morning, Bruno Magalhães still shortened distances but Armindo Araújo took advantage of his second spell in Dáspera – Salgueiral to almost close the account of the classification in his favor. It wasn't the fastest. Who won was now late José Pedro Fontes. But the Skoda man's second best time made him increase the advantage over Bruno Magalhães, again, to 10.5 seconds, while Ricardo Teodósio was content with the last place on the podium.
The last section, Santo André das Tojeiras 2, was the Power Stage, which meant extra points for the three fastest. There, Bruno Magalhães again prevailed and added three points to the 22nd second place finish. José Pedro Fontes managed the second half and Armindo Araújo closed his participation in Castelo Branco with the third registration on the Power Stage and the victory in the general classification.
With this result, Armindo Araújo, isolates himself in second place with two victories, only behind José Pedro Fontes and Joaquim Santos, the only drivers who have won the Escuderia Castelo Branco event on three occasions.
“The rally went very well for us. We went in to win. We dominated the first day. Today we also dominated the day. I think we showed an excellent attitude. The team did an excellent job. The car was always impeccable and we attacked and defended when we should. We manage the race. We were always in the right place at the right time and that translated into a victory that was very important for us ”, stated the winner of the Castelo Branco Rally.
Although second place is not the most desired result, Bruno Magalhães leaves Castelo Branco very happy with the return of the sport to the road. “It was an extremely competitive rally. I think it was the perfect return from the rallies. The organization did an excellent job and we, the drivers and the teams, did it, I think, perfectly. I think it was a huge success and we showed everyone that motor sport can be a reference. Second place is the possible result. We fought for victory. Unfortunately we were unable to win, but we will continue to fight. ”
With the third place won, Ricardo Teodósio does not hide that he wanted more. “As always, Escuderia does an excellent job, with a well-organized rally, a little shorter than last year, but it had to be. We had an atypical rally. We were not expecting it to be so. This happens in rallies, unfortunately. In the last two sections a part of the car was damaged, or there is something that is not in good condition and the car was not moving. It was the best that could be done. The third one knew a little ”, stressed the pilot from Albufeira.
Pedro Meireles (Volkswagen Polo R5) and João Barros (Citroën C3 R5) completed the lot of the first five. A note to José Pedro Fontes who, despite the mechanical problems, still managed to finish tenth. Miguel Correira and Manuel Castro, both in Skoda Fabia R5, were in sixth and seventh, respectively, while Carlos Martins, finished the race in eighth.
Pedro Antunes debuted, alongside Pedro Almeida, made the world debut of the Peugeot 208 Rally4 and finished in ninth position with the status of best competitor with a two-wheel drive car.
Supremacy of Vítor Pascoal in the RGT
In a competition where Porsche dictates the laws, Vítor Pascoal was the best of all. The 911 GT3 Cup driver had an irreproachable demonstration among the RGTs and won the Castelo Branco Rally, in the category, with 2m36s of advantage over Pedro Silva and almost five minutes for Carvalheiro class.
José Cruz wins among the Classics
At the wheel of a Porsche 911 SC, José Cruz was the best among the competitors of the Portuguese Classic Rally Championship. The supremacy was such that it left Pedro Leone, in Ford Escort RS Cosworth, almost 2m30s away. Nuno Mateus, in Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV, completed the podium.
Armando Carvalho is the king of the Rally Center Championship
It was without bones that Armando Carvalho managed to win the Castelo Branco Rally scoring for the Centro Rally Championship. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V driver won all the qualifiers of the race and reached the end with an advantage to round the minute over Daniel Ferreira (Mitubishi Carisma GT).