There’s one interesting bit in fresh WRC Team MINI Portugal’s release, praising Armindo Araujo and the challenges that await him. As if things were not well within their own backyard, MINI Motorsport says that “as things stand at present” Araujo and Paulo Nobre will be only Mini crews contesting in all WRC rallies this year.
Rather odd way of saying “we have no idea what that other team plans to do and it is none of our concern anyway”. And instead of talking about potential for top results and points, Mini is again talking about… well, take a look yourself. I just cannot seem to find any point in their participation, unless this is just a transition period to 2013 and fresh start with top drivers (unlikely, I know). For now, I should get used to the fact that top class driver such as Dani Sordo is working as a test mule in developing a car for, well, let’s stop right there, shall we?
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WRC Team MINI Portugal’s Armindo Araujo again aims to prove his speed, this time on WRC rounds in Mexico and Portugal. The Portuguese driver is particularly looking forward to his home event.
Armindo Araujo cannot believe how fast time seems to fly. It is almost a year since he contested the 2011 Rally Portugal, his first event in a MINI. Then, in front of his home fans, he drove the MINI John Cooper Works S2000, thus amassing data and driving experience for driving the MINI John Cooper Works WRC.
Eleven months on, Armindo has proven one of the most talented drivers competing under the MINI Customer Racing programme, in the process establishing himself as WRC Team MINI Portugal’s number one driver and forcing the brand into the centre of fans’ consciousness. “It’s a great feeling,” admits the 34-year-old Portuguese. “I am very proud to be representing MINI and Portugal. It is an exciting opportunity and I will give it everything I have got.” In March he will twice be required to step up to the plate.
The Rally Mexico, on which Armindo in 2010 scored his first WRC point, starts on 8 March. Little wonder, then, that he is looking forward to his foray to Central America, particularly as he did not compete here last year. “I like Mexico a lot. The conditions are not that different from Portugal. We are all 100 per cent focused on putting in the best possible performance,” says Armindo.
He will again be at the wheel of a MINI WRC which has changed very little during the year. “However, there should be a new evolution ready for Portugal, so it will be interesting to see what the new cars offers,” Armindo says.
Three weeks later, from 29 March, he will compete on the Rally Portugal, his home event. “Portugal 2011 was my first event in a MINI, and it is great to visit the North where I am from and see the home crowds. Plus, I am now driving for WRC Team MINI Portugal, so it could very well be the biggest event of the year for us.”
That is not the end of it, either, for as things stand at present Armindo and team-mate Paulo Nobre will be the only MINI WRC drivers scheduled to contest the full WRC season. Thus Armindo has a perfect platform on which to represent the MINI brand and prove his talent to rally fans worldwide.
“Now maybe more eyes are on me,” says Armindo with a smile. “But they are very welcome. I am a lucky guy and I have the opportunity to live my dream.”
So, some very exciting weeks are ahead of him.