Motor sport is poorer with the departure of the pilot Winter Amaral, whose career was closely linked to Renault. Inverno Amaral became National Rally Champion in 1987, also contributing, in that year, to Renault winning the Brands title. For this reason and for everything it did in the time when it gave life to the late “Renault Galp” team, it has become an essential name in Renault's sporting history, in Portugal. The Algarve driver left today, but he will be missed … Time to remember the talented Algarve driver …
José Inverno Amaral left his name engraved in the history of national motorsport, but also in the history of Renault competition, whose part of the success, in the second part of the 80's, owes a lot to him.
With a truly eclectic sports career, which has passed through disciplines as different as Popcross (where he was champion in 1980), Speed and All-Terrain, the Algarve driver found, in rallies, the most natural way to express his talent and speed at the wheel, achieving the best sporting results in this discipline and helping Renault to shine at the highest level.
Noting the Citroën Visa de Ralis Trophy (which he won in 1983), Inverno Amaral definitely entered the radar of the Renault Galp team in 1986, after showing up and achieving outstanding results with a “limited” Renault 11 Turbo of Group N in the events of the National Rally Championship, where he got to win an expressive fourth place in the "Rally Lois Algarve", before much more powerful machines.
With the rallies going through a phase of change, due to the ban of the famous “Group B”, and the Renault Galp team directing, in 1987, its bet for the competitive Renault 11 Turbo of “Group A”, Winter Amaral was called to the official formation of the then Renault Portuguesa, with an ambitious objective: to continue the success of the team in previous years, where the pair Joaquim Moutinho / Edgar Fortes, at the wheel of the Renault 5 Turbo, had won two national titles!
National Rally Champion with a Renault 11 Turbo
And it wasn't long before the combative pilot fulfilled the design of the team responsible! In the debut year of the Renault 11 Turbo of “Group A” of the official Renault Galp team, Inverno Amaral, accompanied by navigator Joaquim Neto, he won five victories (Rally das Camélias, Rally Figueira da Foz, Rally S. Miguel / Azores, Rally da Madeira – best Portuguese – and Rally do Algarve), winning the title of National Rally Champion and helping Renault to win the Brands title, to which the other team duo, Manuel Mello, also contributed that year. Breyner and Alfredo Lavrador.
The bet renewed in 1988, Winter Amaral once again stood out in the Renault Galp team. However, two victories (Rally das Camélias and best Portuguese in Rally Portugal) and two more second places (Rally do Porto, Rali S. Miguel and Rali do Algarve) were not enough for him to renew the title. A year in which the regulations of the National Rally Championship changed, forcing the Renault 11 Turbo to undergo a slight reduction in power (from about 200-210 horses, to 185 to 190 horses) and, above all, to live with machines four-wheel drive, more competitive on the ground. Even so, in 1988, Renault won the runner-up in Brands, the result of good winter performances by Amaral and also by the double Bento Amaral and Rui Bevilacqua, meanwhile, arriving at the team.
A year later, in its third year with the Renault Galp team, and at a time when the growing evolution and greater competitiveness of all-wheel drive models was already unavoidable, it once again managed to get the most out of the Renault 11 Turbo (already Phase II) , but despite his constant demonstrations of talent he was unable to repeat the title he won in 1987. Even so, he left a triumph in the Rally da Figueira da Figueira da Rali (in the year he said goodbye and also ended) Foz and four podiums (Sopete Rally, Volta a Portugal, Alto Tâmega Rally and Rali S. Miguel / Azores), which earned him the third place in the National Rally Championship, the same classification achieved by Renault in the Brands Championship.
Memories that time certainly does not erase, as it will certainly preserve the memory of the talented and competitive driver, for whom results were always more important than media coverage.
Thank you and always winter!