PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY: THE SEASON STARTS IN STYLE WITH PEPE LÓPEZ ON THE ERC JUNIOR PODIUM
ERC ROUND #1 | AZORES AIRLINES RALLY
The season rally opener in Azores (Portugal) gave early evidence of its reputation as a tough race with adverse weather conditions (dense fog, mud and water puddles).
Pepe LÓPEZ and Borja ROZADA had to fight against the odds to end-up on the overall Junior pódium, in 3rd position of U28 category, for their first ERC race.
José SUÀREZ and Cándido CARRERA drove very fast in the early stages, but a crash stopped them on Sunday morning and forced them to retire.
All the beginnings are challenging, especially for the younger drivers who have to deal with the stress and typical pressure of the first race. As Laurent Guyot, PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY Team Manager, pointed out before the race:
“The first race of the season is important for the team, because it is an opportunity to see how you compare with your rivals and what you will have to focus on the rest of the season. For the drivers and co-drivers, it is the first contact with the 2017 car in competition. Cooling down and maintaining concentration is key to get off to a good start.”
That was precisely what Pepe LÓPEZ did. As he recovered from a 100-seconds penalty due to a mechanical issue on day 1, he has been steadily improving his pace, pushed hard in the last stage and finally secured a final stage win. Together with co-driver Borja ROZADA, they claimed the third spot on the overall U28 podium, showing great potential. Their spirit is high ahead of the second stop of 2017.
José SUÀREZ kept a fast pace with his PEUGEOT 208T16, among the best of the class. On Saturday afternoon, as he was classified in overall second position, he made a small mistake that unfortunately damaged one of the car’s rear arms, and lost all his options for victory. On Sunday, racing with heavy fog, he made another mistake that forced him to retire. With his co-driver Candido CARRERA, they stay optimistic and look forward to the next race that will take place on tarmac, which means more speed.
The PEUGEOT RALLY ACADEMY Team has just packed is heading to Gran Canaria, Spain, for the second round of the ERC Junior season (action from May 4th to 6th). There, the juniors will give their best to delight their fellow Spaniards fans with great performance on home soil.
Official U28 Classification: https://www.fiaerc.fr/resultats/
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