Crash puts pay to Sousa’s hopes
He won’t restart today
Bernardo Sousa won’t restart on Vodafone Rally de Portugal today following his crash on Friday’s final test.
The emerging Portuguese star was in ninth overall when he left the road shortly before the six-kilometre mark on the day-closing Felizes stage and rolled a reported six times downhill.
His Ford Fiesta RS WRC came to rest several metres from the road and it took two lifting cranes to be recovered.
While there were hopes that Sousa’s M-Sport mechanics would be able to repair the damage, an inspection by technical officials from the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body, revealed the car’s roll cage had been damaged in two places.
“Two bars in the roll cage had been bent and when it’s not 100 per cent then it’s a no go,” said M-Sport’s Andrew Wheatley. “The team around him were naturally very disappointed because Bernardo had done a good job.”
Sousa normally drives a Super 2000 version of M-Sport’s Fiesta in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship and was making a one-off step up to the WRC’s top class for his home event.
“He did a small test before the rally but obviously has good experience of driving the Super 2000 Fiesta and this showed,” Wheatley continued. “He obviously found the engine characteristics of the World Rally Car very different to what he is used to and had to adjust his driving style accordingly.
“His next event in the Super 2000 car will be in Jordan and I’m sure he’ll go there with more confidence based on the good job he did here.”
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