Class Victory for defending P-WRC Champion Armindo Araújo in México
Reigning P-WRC Champion driver and co-driver, Armindo Araújo and Miguel Ramalho took a convincing win this weekend in Corona Rally México. Leading from SS6, the Portuguese pair finished 3 minutes and 33 seconds in front of second place Toshi Arai (JPN) in the second round of the FIA Production car World Rally Championship. Following his third place in Rally Sweden, Araújo now finds himself leading the 2010 P-WRC, 15 points ahead of Swedish guest driver, Patrik Flodin.

Twice P-WRC Champion Subaru driver, Toshi Arai, took a strong second in his first event of the season, finishing 4 minutes 58 seconds ahead of Miguel Baldoni’s Mitsubishi, despite an event plagued with problems. Arai ended Day One only 5.6 seconds behind leader Araújo. However, after SS10, the opening stage of Day Two, his brakes were found to be red hot and the brake fluid boiling, causing significant damage to his Subaru Impreza.

Despite also suffering a puncture on SS13, he remained in second place after Day Two, but was a full 3 minutes 39 seconds behind Araújo. He successfully claimed two of the three stage wins on offer on Day Three of Corona Rally México, racking up nine stage wins in total over the event, but could only dent Araújo’s lead by six seconds. Argentinean Miguel Baldoni drove his Mitsubishi to a solid third in his first ever World Rally. Focusing on not making any mistakes, his caution was heightened in the afternoon of Day Two as his engine and gearbox began to overheat. Sitting in a no man’s land, Baldoni ended the event 8 minutes 53 seconds behind second place Arai, but 8 minutes 56 seconds ahead of fourth place Benito Guerra’s Mitsubishi.

Mexican guest driver Guerra claimed 12 points from his home rally. After hitting a rock at high speed on Day One, it was uncertain whether Guerra would be able to continue in Corona Rally México, but on Day Two he came back fighting climbing from sixth place to fourth and even scooping a stage win on SS21. After teething problems on Day One, Italian Subaru driver Gianluca Linari came in fifth, the final driver to take home points in the P-WRC after both Giorgio Bacco (ITA) on Day One and guest driver Roberto Salgado (MEX) on Day Three had to retire from the event.

1st – Armindo Araújo (PRT): “I am really pleased with my start to the season. From yesterday lunchtime, I drove super-safely to get my result. A win in the P-WRC and a top 10 in the overall result is more than I could have wished for.”

2nd – Toshi Arai (JPN): “I am medium happy. It was a good and tough rally until the puncture, but we finished in second place. I had been fighting to get a lead on Armindo, but after the puncture, we kept a steady pace.”

3rd – Miguel Baldoni (ARG): “A P-WRC podium on my first WRC event is as much as I could have dreamed of. I learnt a lot and I know what I have to improve to be better in my next rally: my driving, my fitness, many things. The team and all my sponsors in Argentina will be very happy.”

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