|Baja Portalegre: Mitsubishi driver Miguel Barbosa put the pace in the prologue.|
As expected, the Portuguese drivers dictate the pace in the prologue that opened the 2011 edition of "Baja Vodafone Portalegre 500". Despite the presence of some stars of the international panorama, like Leonid Novitskiy or Jean-Louis Schlesser, it was Miguel Barbosa who put the pace, but the Mitsubishi Racing Lancer driver was almost surprised by Ricardo Leal dos Santos, who yielded only nine tenths of seconds.
On his debut with the X-raid Mini All4, Filipe Campos signed the third time, 2,5 second from the leader. In Group T2 the fastest was the returning Edgar Condenso, while in the Challenge Elf/Mazda, Bruno Oliveira beat all competition. Among the competitors in the national event, the fastest was Vitor Caeiro.
Moreover, the balance was the dominant note of the start of the silver anniversary celebration of the event, in addition to the immense number of spectators along the prologue, with the 10 first placed to fit in less than 14 seconds, on a plot in which appear Nuno Matos, Mathias Kahle, Boris Gadasin, Rui Sousa, Hélder Oliveira, Leonid Novitskiy and Vladimir Vasilev, what opens great prospects for a great race over the more than 400 kilometers.
As usual, Miguel Barbosa won the prologue, which according to the pilot «ran within normal, although it could have been better. For the final two sectors is indifferent to start first on the road, even if I recognize that whoever leaves behind better controls the race. However, the car is good and so I will impose a strong pace early on. Although not an obsession, even because I won here, it's always a pleasure to win in Portalegre and is what I will look forward once more», he said.
Ricardo Leal dos Santos had a great start, signing the second time, losing less than a second to Barbosa: «It was good, but I don't know if this is the ideal position. I think we should be able to do as in the bikes category, where the fastest can choose his starting position. For the second day the objective is the podium and for this we have a fantastic car that goes over everything in a impressive way.»
On his debut with the Mini, Filipe Campos took the third place, «almost a victory. Losing only 2,5s for Miguel is excellent. I'm going to try to win as always, despite this being my debut with the car and it handles different from BMW, especially on the stability level», explained the Oporto driver.
The second day of the event starts very early, with a selective sector of 172 km from 7.30am, and the remaining 253 kilometers of SS3 from 12.30pm. Meanwhile, the riders make this distance in a single online special from 09:05am.
2011/10/28 | 20:02 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/B500