Armindo Araujo has confirmed he is to take legal action against Motorsport Italia after he was dropped and replaced by Chris Atkinson for the final five events of the 2012 World Rally Championship.
In a statement on is personal website, he said he was put under pressure to say he wasn't fit to compete in Germany for the WRC Team MINI Portgual outfit. He also added that he has reported the matter to the FIA.
The full statement on Araujo's personal site read:
“Following the media release issued by Motorsport Italia, informing that Armindo Araujo and Miguel Ramalho will no longer be part of WRC Team MINI Portgual, Armindo Araujo considers that now is the right time to issue this statement after compiling all the facts. Therefore he would like to clarify all points linked to this matter:
“1. There were clear objectives set for the project in 2012. We started the season with a very interesting result on Rally Monte Carlo but only in Rally Sweden did we launch WRC Team MINI Portgual. From Rally Mexico onwards, Motorsport Italia attempted to camouflage all the technical problems and blame the faults on the drivers, Paulo Nobre and I. From this moment also, Motorsport Italia, tried to object against my media releases, arguing that there were negative mentions of the team and MINI itself. I would like to reiterate that all media releases were previously approved by MINI Portugal and in no circumstances were there any negative references to them. I always defended the team and brand with whom I was linked to.
“2. To prepare for the asphalt phase of WRC and the new MINI JCW WRC version 01B, I was invited by Motorsport Italia, on the 17th of July, 2012, for a test program to be held in Italy between 10th and 12th of August. Only on the 8th of August, 2012, I received the GPS coordinates of the location. During the three days I stayed in Italy, I was not allowed to test the car, instead I was put under pressure to declare myself sick and to not take part in Rally Germany... At that time I could not believe I was receiving such a proposal or suggestion
“3. On the 15th of August 2012, Motorsport Italia, requested permission from me to use the license of WRC Team MINI Portugal - which exclusively belongs to Armindo Araujo, Lda - to be used with another driver up until the end of the season. For obvious reasons I declined the permission to use the license. On the following day, the 16th of August, Motorsport Italia informed me that I am no longer a driver of the team starting from Rally Germany and until the end of the season with no justification or valid explanation.
“4.On the 17th of August, I informed Motorsport Italia, MINI Germany and MINI Portugal that I have collected all necessary documentation about this matter and have delivered it to my team of lawyers, led by Dr. José Pedro Gomes, who will take all necessary legal actions to protect my name and as well the project which I respect enormously.
“5. It has been always my position to seek the truth and respect justice. All my sponsors have been informed of all the facts and support me entirely in my decision to take legal action...
“To finish, I would like to inform, that according to my duty, I have reported all the facts to the FIA, and I am currently waiting their feedback, believing that the truth is above all...”