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PWRC: Araujo celebrates home victory

Armindo Araujo was arguably the happiest man at the end of the Rally Portugal after he completed a famous victory on home ground in the Production WRC class.

The Portuguese driver used the benefit of his local knowledge to avoid any dramas over the three days before completing victory by a comfortable one minute margin.

Getting his moment to shine in front of a cheering crowd at the Estadio Algarve, victory is his first at this level, while it also moves him into the lead of the PWRC class after three rounds.

“Finally, my first victory!” he said. “After the disappointment of losing in Cyprus it makes me very happy to win here in Portugal. I felt very proud standing on the podium - I think I have the best fans in the world! During the rally I never made any mistakes, the car always worked well and so I feel very confident ahead of the next rallies.”

His cause was aided by a variety of problems for his rivals, with Nasser Al-Attiyah and Patrik Flodin both throwing away leads with errors on day one and two, while Patrik Sandell's accident on SS2 also eliminated an expected front runner.

Martin Prokop was also delayed in the early stages, but his perseverance was rewarded with an eventual second place finish, achieved on the final run through the Super Special stage when Eyvind Brynildsen hit problems himself.

“We didn't believe we could be here - it's incredible!” the Czech driver, who also leads the JWRC standings, said. “We had so many problems with the car this weekend. It seemed that every time we tried to speed up and win a stage the car broke up, but we were lucky because the others had more problems than us! Second place is good stuff for the season. Next we will try and win in Argentina.”

“We did all we could but gave away about eight seconds to Prokop,” added a disappointed Brynildsen. “I just can't believe it. I'm fed up with getting seconds and thirds now - I just want to win. I know I can. I just need some luck.”


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