CPR: Armindo Araújo wins Castelo Branco Rally

Armindo Araújo/Luís Ramalho (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo) won the Castelo Branco Rally and became the first ‘repeaters’ of the year, as they are the first pair to win for the second time this year.
The championship already ‘smiles’ them a lot, and with this result it smiles even more, allowing a good cushion of punctual comfort for what is missing from the CPR 2022, three events, Madeira, Alto Tâmega and Vidreiro.
The Racing Factory duo went to the front of the rally in the second special and never left.
On the 1st day, he gained time from the most direct opponents, but the margins were never great, having reached the end of the day on Saturday, 2.2s in front of Bruno Magalhães/Carlos Magalhães (Hyundai i20 N Rally2), after they had made a final forcing in the super specials that closed the day of

Armindo Araújo/Luís Ramalho (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo) won the Castelo Branco Rally, becoming the first ‘repeaters’ of the year. José Pedro Fontes/Inês Ponte (Citroën C3 Rally2) were seconds after his best rally of the year, and Miguel Correia/Jorge Carvalho (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo) finished last on the podium, a prize for a good race.

Very hot inside and outside the sections! The first event of the year on asphalt was very interesting, marked by very high temperatures, around 40º, with the ‘temperature’ also being high as a result of the many fights against the clock that gave this event a huge shine.
The Castelo Branco Rally had a lot of excitement, a lot of fighting in the front seats, and not only for the victory, some drama and even unusual accidents between the front teams. Although Armindo Araújo led from the second to the last stage, there was a lot of struggle on the part of José Pedro Fontes and Bruno Magalhães. Both fought hard to get closer to the leader, but tuning a little ‘to the side’ and holes, albeit slow, ended up opening the way for Armindo Araújo, who, by performing a very high level test, chanced another triumph for his rich laurels.
For Armindo Araújo/Luís Ramalho (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo), the championship already ‘smiles’ them a lot, and with this result it smiles even more, allowing a good cushion of punctual comfort for what is missing from the CPR 2022, three events, Madeira , Alto Tâmega and Glass. The Racing Factory duo went to the front of the rally in the second stage and never left, but things were complicated..
On the 1st day, the most direct opponents gained time, but the margins were never great, having reached the end of the day on Saturday, 2.2s in front of Bruno Magalhães/Carlos Magalhães (Hyundai i20 N Rally2), after they had made a final forcing in the super specials that closed the day on Saturday, when they passed the difference from 7.4s to 2.2s. But in the first special on Sunday morning, Magalhães lost 40 seconds with a puncture, and with that he went down several positions, ‘giving’ the victory to Armindo Araújo, who from then on was limited to managing the margin he had against José Pedro Sources.
An almost perfect rally for the duo from The Racing Factory, which had, as expected, a lot of struggle from the ‘opposition’, but who always knew how to counteract, never putting a wheel out of place, taking their ‘boat’ to good harbor. With this victory, he has a good ‘gap’ of the title door open, but the truth is that there are still three races to go and a lot can still happen.
José Pedro Fontes/Inês Ponte (Citroën C3 Rally2) finished the Castelo Branco Rally in second position, having done their best rally this year. It is true that the tar tests are much more “your way”, the Sports & You duo was the first leader of the rally, but it did not arrive, because here and there seconds that accumulated, no longer allowed the recovery in the last day. And they tried well, because just like on the first day, they also won the first Sunday special. However, they didn’t have time to recover much more. This confirms what was already suspected: on the asphalt they will fight for victories.
Another podium for Miguel Correia/Jorge Carvalho (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo) in line with what they have been achieving on dirt roads, only then the results come out naturally, while on asphalt the driver still has a way to go to go toe-to-toe with their main opponents. In this test, differences were already noted. This year, Miguel Correia is already doing much better on the asphalt, and in this race, being close to the front, 6.7sec from José Pedro Fontes, at the entrance of the last four stages, shows the pilot’s evolution on the tarmac. Clearly closer to the fights ahead.

Magellan deserved better
Bruno Magalhães/Carlos Magalhães (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) were fourth, in a race that deserved much more. It was a shame that they were unlucky on Sunday morning, after having recovered the gap to the leaders the day before, from 7.4s to 2.2s, taking advantage of the softer mix of tires they had on their Hyundai. But rallies are just that, treacherous, and their fight ended when they lost 40 seconds on PE9. Anyway, that doesn’t erase the performance they made, and it’s sure that we’ll see them fight for victories in the next competitions, and most likely, win. In Castelo Branco, it was a shame the fight didn’t go to the end, as it would have been epic…
Pedro Meireles/Pedro Alves also had a good race (Hyundai i20 N Rally2). A great fight to the second with Miguel Correia as the best “of the others”, fight that they lost by a little. They went up and down in the fight for 5th place, a fight that became the podium on Sunday morning, but Miguel Correia was stronger. With his new Hyundai he had already shown good signs in the dirt tests and now on the asphalt he showed that he is getting along very well with the car. And that’s good, because it’s necessary to walk in the fights ahead.
Ricardo Teodósio/José Teixeira (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) retired in the last stage, in an inglorious way, in a rlai with bad luck opening and another closing. It’s very bad luck for a single rally, and very bad luck for a single season! On PE1, an intercooler clamp was loosened before starting. The engine ran out of power and the loss of time was unavoidable, and any possible good result was left there. After the victory in the Rally de Portugal, it was thought that the malapata had already dropped the pair, but no. And the worst was yet to come. After that, they worked on the future, ran, experimented, learned, tested, and this can now bear fruit in the next races. As if the bad luck wasn’t enough, they hit (very) hard on the last section. The Hyundai i20 N Rally2 debuted at the Rally de Portugal was badly damaged.
Daniel Nunes/Nuno Mota Ribeiro (Ford Fiesta Rally3) were sixth after a lonely race, as they have no one to fight directly. It was worth the fun because with the engine upgrade, the M-Sport car now gives the driver another joy.
Gil Antunes/Diogo Correia (Dacia Sandero R4) could well have struggled with the men in the yellow Fiesta, but problems with the Dacia’s engine overheating quickly slowed them down, a problem that extended throughout the rally. Still, a good seventh place.
Ricardo Sousa/Luís Marques (Peugeot 208 Rally4) comfortably won the two-wheel drive (read separately) one minute ahead of
Ernesto Cunha/Rui Raimundo (Peugeot 208 Rally4), who were ninth overall.
Paulo Caldeira/Ana Gonçalves (Citroën C3 Rally2) closed out the top 10 of the overall, a race in which the pair suffered a little with the very heat that was felt. 40º in the shade, more than 60º inside the car.
For the rest of the entourage, it was a test of survival, as the heat was something that affected everyone.
Ricardo Filipe/Fernando Almeida (Ford Fiesta R5) continue to improve their pace, in this race they gave up on the 1st day, returned and did some good times.
Paulo Neto/Vítor Hugo (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) withdrew in PE2, after a ‘rear’ in which they damaged the suspension, they returned on the 2nd day to spin and win. Among the withdrawals, as we mentioned, Ricardo Teodósio, but also Pedro Almeida / Mário Castro Mário (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo), who abandoned in PE6 with a strong exit, in a very dirty area. They were fighting for 4th place. It was a pity.
The CPR will continue in about a month and a half in Madeira, and from what was seen in Castelo Branco there will be a lot of fight for the triumph, it remains to be seen if anyone from the CPR can fight in general with the Madeirans. Speaking of Madeirans, Bernardo Sousa should also be present, but that remains to be confirmed…

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