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Making his debut at the the Baja Portalegre 500, Nani Roma started the Automóvel Club de Portugal’s event the best way possible. The Spaniard finished the day leading with a 1:04.9s margin over his X-Raid team mate Stéphane Peterhansel.

Although it’s fair to say that MINI is dominating the FIA World Cup For Cross Country Rallies’ last round, the trough is that they did not have an easy SS2. Both ended up with punctures in a day in which heavy rain drenched the last 15 km, making for a very slippery surface.

“Everything is ok,”

said Peterhansel at the end of the leg, although with a rear left tyre puncture on his MINI John Cooper Works. Roma also suffered a puncture, but manage to end in the first spot.

Searching for his fifth back to back victory in Portalegre, and the fastest driver in the morning’s Prologue, Ricardo Porém was not able to avoid difficulties at the end of the day.

“Unfortunately, ten kilometres from the end we hit a tree, I can’t quite well explain. It’s racing. We lost the power steering and I believe we broke a suspension arm,”

explained the VW Amarok driver. A setback which relegated him to the fourth spot overall, more than three minutes adrift from Roma, and behind João Ramos. The Toyota Hilux driver ended, therefore, as the best between the four National Championship hopefuls.

“I am not driving for an overall victory, but to win the Portugues Off-Road Championship. I am trying to avoid problems and not risking punctures because we have a tyre limitation and that might be a huge problem,”

said Ramos.

More than a minute away, Hélder Ramos (MINI), seventh overall, admitted to be surprise by the rain in the last 10 or 15 km of the SS.
Tiago Reis (Mitsubishi Lancer), also racing the the national off-road crown, ended in sixth, less then two minutes adrift from João Ramos, while Pedro Ferreira (VW Amarok), almost three minutes behind the Toyota Hilux driver, complained about an opponent which did not let him pass.

Source Baja Portalegre 500 's official press release

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