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Carlos Sousa third-fastest on final special stage
Baja Portalegre : Team Galp Energia - Finish
Setting the third fastest time on the final timed sector, Carlos Sousa confirmed that he is definitely on the pace, and able to compete with the best. Without yesterday's incidents, the Team Galp Energia driver would undoubtedly
have been able to fight with the eventual winners. With some regrets concerning the overall result (11th), the team is nevertheless extremely satisfied with the handling of the Nissan Navara, and very optimistic concerning the future.

After three days of bad weather, the sun finally shone down on Portalegre. The spectators flocked to the event, as always in Portugal, and were able to appreciate, under clear blue skies, the show put on by the remaining competitors over the 102 kilometres which made up the final stage.

A last sector where local hero, Carlos Sousa, was finally able to shine, setting the third-best time, to the delight of all those involved in Team Galp Energia.

«This morning's result is not bad, but quite honestly, we lost some time. We had to overtake many cars, and each time, it took a few minutes before the car in front heard us. It is not that they are blocking us on purpose, but quite simply that they did not see us. There was still a lot of mud on the route, and the controls to work the windscreen wipers are on my side, which is not very practical. In the Dakar, it will not be our priority… The conditions here are very particular. The car behaved very well, and there are only a few small things to change before the Dakar. Our aim will be to remain in contact with the official teams for as long as possible. We are a private team, but with very professional personnel involved.

The final result of the Portalegre event is not the most important thing. For me, the most vital thing is was to get to known the car in race conditions, and for us to get used to working together. It was a bit like on a test-session, up against our main rivals, to determine our position in terms of performance. These three days were a real learning experience, and I am very satisfied. Now, we have to concentrate on the Dakar, and work hard to give ourselves the best possible chance. I am confident in the future.”

In the right-hand seat, Jean-Marie Lurquin appears to have enjoyed his weekend in Portugal: « We made a great start this morning, but quite quickly we caught up with the cars in front of us. Not easy to overtake when they don't see us… But Carlos is a real Gentleman, very respectful of people and his country. Unlike most competitors, who do not hesitate to cut across fields, he stayed resolutely on the route. I understand this attitude, and I approve of it. We were really on the pace, and that pleases me. Quite frankly, I really enjoyed this first race alongside Carlos. Next episode at the end of December…”

As Jean-Marie said, the next major event will be the Dakar. In the meantime, a number of test sessions have been planned.

Team Manager André Dessoude gave us his summary of the weekend : « I am pleased to see that the car is competitive and that is can still fight with the best. It's a shame that this stupid windscreen-wiper problem spoiled the result. Despite everything, the Baja Portalegre was a good opportunity for the team to practice before the Dakar. As far as Carlos is concerned, in the current configuration of the team, he is the ideal driver. He is consistent and good at endurance, and can manage the length of a race like the Dakar perfectly. As Jean-Marie said quite rightly, he is a driver who uses his head. No excess zeal, no over-excitement. Moreover, he is respectful of the men, their work, and his car. It is a real pleasure to have him in the team !”

The team should be back in action in Lisbon on December 29th, for the start of the most legendary of races. Two stages will take place in Portugal. A great satisfaction for Carlos Sousa and Team Galp Energia, which will start the event in front of their home crowd !
Press Release Team Galp Energia

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