Last year’s champion Filipe Campos was the main favorite in a bit weak starting field of the first race, Rali TT Serras do Norte (19. - 20. February). The only real threat to him was his team mate Bernardo Moniz da Maia (BMW X3 CC) and Rui Sousa with Prolama prepared Isuzu D-Max Proto. As expected the win went to Campos in front of José Dinis Lucas (Mitsubishi Pajero). Miguel Veloso driving Nissan Navara in national group T8 grabbed the third place. The best amongst production cars (group T2) was seventh placed José Camilo Martins (Mitsubishi Pajero). A very popular racing machine in Portugal is Mazda BT-50. These cars have their own Trophy within the championship and Joao Pedro Pais has mastered the first race.
The competition of the second round was stronger thanks to three-time national champion Miguel Barbosa. A newly developed Mitsubishi Racing Lancer powered by a 2-litre turbo petrol engine is supposed to be ideal for this kind of races. Then there were two YSER Racing Team crews of Filipe Campos and Bernard Moniz da Maia. Rui Sousa’s intention was to test new set-up of his Proto. Baja TT Terras d’el Rei (20. - 21. March) was different to other races. It consisted of just one special stage.
But this one was 320 kilometers long and raced non-stop which was demanding for machines as well as for men. Barbosa was leading the field when health problems occurred and he lost his position. This was a chance for Campos to maintain his overall lead and he used it well. Also da Maia leaped over Barbosa and took the second place. Decent performance was provided by two prototypes of DePieres Team. Unfortunately, Miguel Farrajota didn’t finish because of malfunction of his Proto RAV4 (derived of Toyota, of course). Henrique Silva has adopted French BMW Trio which you may know from Dakar. Even though he crashed close to the finish line he was able complete the rally on twelfth place.
Photo: Luís Marques and Manuel Cordeiro for maistt.blogspot.com