24 Hours Off-Road Fronteira: Fronteira lived up to tradition as the great celebration of the Portuguese off-road
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Tradition is still what it was in the Alentejo town of Fronteira... The 23rd edition of the BP Ultimate 24 Hours TT Vila de Fronteira confirmed the unique status of the race: an unparalleled atmosphere, an incredible sporting spirit, huge demonstrations of the resilience of the teams, but also of the public and, of course, a countless number of emotions experienced throughout the endless 1.440 minutes of race duration. The great national cross-country party ended at 2 pm today (Sunday) and, the truth is, all those who had the privilege of living it are already missing it. And if, as winners, all those who accepted the challenge of the race organized by the Automobile Club of Portugal can be declared as winners, the one who climbed to the top of the podium was a team that continues to make history in Fronteira: the Portuguese-French team led by Alexandre Andrade (A.C. Nissan Proto) extended its record to 8 wins!
More than two and a half hundred drivers, from nine nationalities, but also the spectators spread throughout the 16-kilometer perimeter of the Terródromo de Fronteira, once again experienced the emotions and sensations that only the greatest endurance race in the sport can provide. The 24 hours of Fronteira came back to reaffirm its reputation. Not only a fight against the chronometer, or an overcoming race for men and machines, but also a huge party, celebrating the true spirit of off-road.
For much of the race, the track was the stage for a struggle between different technical concepts. On one side, the prototypes were specifically developed for off-road endurance races. On the other, the spectacular and competitive SSVs. Vehicles that were originally developed as utilitarian or recreational vehicles, but which are increasingly seen in TT competitions, due to the extraordinary competitive-price ratio.
Alexandre Andrade's team wins the overall and beats its own record!
However, it wasn't in this edition that an SSV has won for the first time in the endurance race organized by the Automóvel Club de Portugal. The triumph was in charge of the usual suspects, the Luso-French team of Alexandre Andrade, Cedric Duple, Yann Morize and Florent Charvot who, during the night, performed flawlessly in their Nissan Proto, taking the lead at 11 hours and never losing it. And so he confirmed, in a categorical way, a new record of eight wins in Fronteira (2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021), the fruit of the infallible recipe, speed and consistency, that he had also imposed in the triumph of this year's 24 Hours of Paris. A perfect, double-double season, just as they had already done in 2016!
"We wanted to add this victory to the triumph in the 24 Hours of Paris. The strategy was to start slowly. Our specialty is at night and it was during this period that we gave it all the gas! We have a spectacular car, already 10 years old, but very reliable; we have Cedric to thank for the work he does. Cedric is top top top top..."
he confessed, referring to the performance of his second driver and car's preparer, Cedric Duple.
In the second place, two laps behind the winners finished Fouquet #8 divided between Frenchmen Francis Balocchi, Nicolas Martin, Benjamin Bujon, and Laurent Fouquet, who secured, at the same time, the victory in the T1 category. And closing the podium was the best of the SSVs, a 100% Portuguese team formed by Rui Carneiro, João Ferreira and the brothers Ricardo and Manuel Porém. Despite several technical problems in the MMP Can-Am, the third place was safe with a lap advantage to the fourth classified and celebrated in the party.
"Third place felt like victory! It was very difficult, we had some transmission problems during the night, that's part of it, but it was a great result, a great job by the whole team! When we got together and decided to do this, we were sure it could only go right. This fantastic quartet, together with the whole team, provided our best result in Fronteira. Now let's enjoy it!" said Ricardo Porém, in a permanent record of celebration.
Triumph in T2... makes one think of higher flights!
In the T2 category, victory was won by PRK Sport Rally Team. José Rogeira, Marco Sousa, Luís Correia and Flávio Jerónimo drove the Nissan Navara for a total of 79 laps.
"It's 24 hours! You can only finish thanks to the work of the drivers, the mechanics, the staff, and? and everything that can happen! We had many adversities, but they were transformed into opportunities. It was wonderful, and next year will be better for sure, in another position and... in another class (laughs). We are worthy and competent to try a new category! ", said José Rogeira.
Promotion categories are also present!
Fronteira also had other winners in the promotion categories. In category C, Ulisses Mota's team (Nissan Navara) won; in category A, Manuel Azevedo's team (UMM Alter Turbo) won; and in category B, PRK Sport Rally Team (Peugeot 504 Pickup) won.
Trophy rewards female adventure
Carla Gameiro, Cristela Marto, Sílvia Reis, and Chantel Neves made up the team that won the women's trophy. The example is given by their teammates, also participants in Fronteira motivated them to the adventure in a Suzuki Jimny, which this year debuted in an honorable 40th place overall and second place in category A.
The "Inclusive Team" reaches the end of the race
The Fronteira race welcomed, for the first time, an inclusive team, which included the paralympic cyclist Telmo Pinão, as well as André Venda, navigators and both with motor disabilities. The example of overcoming marked the race finished despite electronic problems in the Buggy Astra GTC. "It was a great challenge, but it was completed! I had no idea of the difficulties I was going to face, I had only been here as a spectator, but it was really fascinating. Thanks for everything, we will surely come back", said Telmo Pinão, soon seconded by André Venda: "It was getting out of my comfort zone, a great experience that, who knows, I may repeat in the next years. Thank you very much to everyone who was involved and supported us.
On Saturday, the first race of the weekend's program in Fronteira, João Monteiro (Can-Am X3) won the 4 Hours SSV Vila de Fronteira 2021.
Automatic Translation from the official press release
Source ACP Official press release
Photos Rally-Raid Network