It has been nearly six weeks since the team’s last round of the IRC in Belgium but yesterday’s performance in the shakedown and superspecial stage, showed Kris and Paul had lost none of their speed over the break.
The Ralli Vinho Madeira, the seventh round of the IRC, started yesterday morning in glorious sunshine with the official shakedown, As expected the local drivers set the early pace but, on his third run through the stage Kris jumped up the timing sheet with second fastest time.At the end of the four hour shakedown it was Bruno Magalhães who finally topped the timing sheet with Kris just 0.2 seconds behind.
Final Results – Shake Down 30th July
1 Peugeot 207 S2000 Bruno Magalhães 1:51.0s
2 Peugeot 207 S2000 Kris Meeke 1:51.2s
3 Abarth Grande Punto S2000 Giandomenico Basso 1:51.4s
4 Peugeot 207 S2000 Nicolas Vouilloz 1:51.5s
5 Peugeot 207 S2000 Vitor Pascoal 1:51.6s
6 Abarth Grande Punto S2000 Luca Rossetti 1:52.2s
7 Peugeot 207 S2000 Freddy Loix 1:52.2s
8 Peugeot 207 S2000 Corrado Fontana 1:53.2s
9 Peugeot 207 S2000 Michal Solowow 1:53.7s
10 Peugeot 207 S2000 Alexandre Camacho 1:54.1s
Britain’s Guy Wilks in his Proton Satria Neo S2000 was down in twelfth fastest position with a time of 1:56.1.
After shakedown the crews grabbed a welcome break before they headed off for the ceremonial start in Funchal and the first stage of the rally, around the port of Funchal.
The 2.18 km stage was a real test for the drivers as it weaved around the port area and included a number of man-made “chicanes” to test both driver and co-driver; it was like a giant go-kart track, very technical.
The warm evening sunshine also brought out the local fans in their hundreds to cheer on the drivers. Perhaps the biggest cheer was reserved for local driver Bernardo Sousa in his Abarth Grande Punto, complete with the island flag flying from the rear spoiler.
It was, however, Peugeot UK’s Kris Meeke in his Peugeot 207 S2000 that set the fastest time on the stage, 0.9 seconds in front of current Portuguese Rally Champion Bruno Magalhães in his Peugeot. Peugeot in fact, dominated the superspecial stage with the 207 S2000 setting eight of the top ten fastest times.
Overall result after SS1
1 Peugeot 207 S2000 Kris Meeke 1m 32.9s
2 Peugeot 207 S2000 Bruno Magalhães +0.9s
3 Peugeot 207 S2000 Corrado Fontana +1.9s
4 Peugeot 207 S2000 Nicolas Vouilloz +2.5s
5 Abarth Grande Punto Luca Rossetti +2.5s
6 Abarth Grande Punto Giandomenico Basso +2.8s
7 Peugeot 207 S2000 Alexandre Camacho +2.8s
8 Peugeot 207 S2000 Freddy Loix +2.9s
9 Peugeot 207 S2000 Michal Solowow +4.6s
10 Peugeot 207 S2000 Miguel Nunes +4.6s