Paulo Nobre: Don't cry for me Argentina
29 April 2012
WRC Team MINI Portugal driver Paulo Nobre reflects on day two of Rally Argentina, where overheating problems sidelined him en-route to SS10 and the repeat loop....
Ohhh goshhh! Another tough day! But no problem Edu and I won't be defeated. We'll find our good luck again!
Day Two started very early again and we took our 'little green pig' from parc ferme before 7am, then after first service we drove almost 100km to start the first Super Special of the day! Today we were third on the road behind the Russian [Evgeny] Novikov and in front the Chilean [Eliseo] Salazar (also in a MINI!) The opening Special Stage wasn't long, 'only' 20km, but there was a lot of mud that recce hadn't prepared us for and even a few corners that were not in our pace notes. This sometimes makes the Super Special seem like a bit of a lottery. On one of these corners, I was scared I was going to go off the road and have no idea when or how to stop! But I tried to be calm and tried to use the accelerator to take the corner sideways. Unfortunately we spun, but better that than to leave the road! Anyway, it was a very tricky stage, but be managed to get through it without any big problems and there were two very nice ladies at the end of the stage giving out Red Bulls, one of them with such an amazing smile that it made my day!
The second Special Stage of the day was the same distance as the first. Some parts were very narrow and twisty with even more mud.... But, hey who ever said Rally Argentina was easy? And the good news was – we made it through this stage too without any problems!!
The third stage was very long, 40km, and threw all sorts of surprises at us... The beginning is twisty, with some stones that seem to appear out of nowhere. There are some fast parts after that with tight corners, which demand focus. In the middle the stage it becomes a 'goat way', it's very, very narrow and twisty. During the recce Edu and I actually thought we'd taken the wrong road, because it was impossible that this could really be part of an official stage. Can you imagine it?
But we loved it and the last part of the stage was as fast as anything!!! To be honest to go there "pe no porrão" (a Brazilian expression that means 'pedal to the metal') the driver would need to have three balls! Like most people I only have the two so I couldn't push or drive the stage as it should be driven. Even so, it was very nice and I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
We were so happy to finish the first loop of the day and bring our MINI back to lunchtime service safely. However, rallying, like in soccer, is a box of surprises... Just as we were about to leave the service park the mechanics found a problem in the engine's cooler system that was losing pressure. Anyway we registered at time control three minutes late because of that but at least they fixed the problem!
The real problem came on the same very long road section from the morning, which we started the afternoon loop with. Just as we were about to get to the time control for the fourth stage, the water temperature alarm went off and we couldn't open the bonnet to check everything over so we decided not to start the afternoon stages. It was very disappointing, but that's rally! When I stop being able to live without the pace and excitement (both good and bad) then it's time to change sport!
We waited for our mechanics for a long time, because they were stuck in traffic, but we had MANY friends around, so we passed some time with them. A lot, but really A LOT of crazy rally fans passed us or were waiting there to take photos and talk to us! It was nice to have the opportunity to pay them some attention. It was just a shame that this was only possible, because we wouldn't be racing anymore that day.
Another good part of the day was that our team-mates Armindão [Araujo] and Miguelito [Ramalho] completed another day without any big problems and they are doing a very good rally! They are a top driver / co-driver, twice world champions and they do not come to rallies to play. They put themselves under a lot of pressure to achieve. It's their first time in Argentina and it's one of the most difficult rallies on the calendar. So in my opinion their results so far are very good. ACELERA ARMINDÃO!!!!!
Please cross your fingers that we aren't disturbed by any bad luck tomorrow!
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Ate amanha galera!!!
Paulo "Palmeirinha" Nobre