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Hacked by prem7pun!sherFrom Ford Press [ 25/03/2007 ].
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The Munchi's Ford World Rally Team head to Portugal confident in search of that illusive first manufacturer point, which narrowly evaded the team by one position in Mexico. Round five of the WRC will be the third in the Munchi's ten event campaign.

After a six year absence from the World Rally Championship, Rally de Portugal has returned in 2007 for the 41st running of this historical event. Based in the southern, Algarve region, it will be the first time both Luis Perez Companc/Jose Maria Volta and Juan Pablo Raies/Jorge Perez Companc have competed in the country.

In 2005 and 2006, two-day candidate events were held and as a result this year will be the first time Rally de Portugal is run in the south of the country under WRC status. Founded in 1967 by the late Cesar Torres, former FIA Vice-President, the event is renowned for the multitude of spectators who flock to stages for a glimpse of maximum rally action.

For the 357.10 kilometres of competitive route, crews will battle fast sweeping stages with technical sections on the hard-packed gravel surface. Once again the event offers shortened liaison distances as the longest road section is no more than 60 kilometres in length and most take place on multiple lane autoroutes.

To the benefit of all teams, headquarters during the event is located at the four-year-old Algarve Stadium, situated eight kilometres north of Faro airport.  
The stadium will also play host to a 2.03 kilometre super special stage with two cars competing together side-by-side in-front of a potential crowd of 30,000 rally fans.

Companc heads to Portugal hunting for his first championship point after a disappointing opening leg in Mexico which saw the Argentinean retire on day one after just 1.8 kilometres of competitive distance. With the surface similar to that of Mexico and Argentina, Companc heads to the sunny coastline confident in himself and his Munchi's Ford Focus RS WRC06.

Team-mate Raies has showed vast improvement over the two events so far this year and will be looking to perform on a surface much more familiar to the 2006 South American Rally Champion. With two full WRC events under his belt for 2007, Raies continues to gain valuable rally experience in his Focus RS 06.

After finishing Mexico two weeks ago both crews have gained valuable miles on gravel in the car and will head to Portugal in high-spirits as they attempt to collect the team's maiden manufacturer point.

Luis Perez Companc
“I am looking forward to Portugal next week, driving on gravel is where I feel most comfortable and where I also have most experience. I have been told that Portugal is quite similar to Mexico and Argentina and that it is also fast, this is a combination that I really like. Not completing the first leg in Mexico shouldn't really make much difference, as I have experience in this car from last year also."

"In terms of points I hope that we can make it happen in Portugal, we were looking for that point in Mexico but we had problems. Because it is a new event, everyone should be making new pace notes and this will benefit us I think. My goal for this rally is to achieve as many points as possible, for this to happen I must be in the top eight.”

Juan Pablo Raies
“In Portugal we will carry on gaining more experience, it is important to finish the rally and also try and shorten the difference with the leaders and us. It is a new event for everybody and no one will have major advantages which will help. After Sweden our performance was much better and in Mexico, we had the chance to drive on the type of roads that are familiar to us, I think it has been very important to have finished both events."

"We are enjoying this year very much, M-Sport looks after us so well and they are all 100 percent professionals and the group that travel from Argentina work in harmony. The car surprises me all the time, hopefully in three or four events we should be able to perform better because we will know the car better and have more experience driving it. My goal in Portugal is definitely to finish the rally and score some points for the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team.”