Pelos vistos, é!
A Motorsport Itália acabou de emitir um comunicado onde confirma a saída de Armindo Araújo da equipa WRC Team MINI Portugal por troca com Chris Atkinson.
De acordo com Bruno Pianto, Manager da Motorsport Itália, “esta época existiu demasiada pressão desde o início. Só em Monte Carlo se soube que a nossa equipa teria a possibilidade de fazer correr dois pilotos em todas as provas do calendário, e como devem calcular, a pressão sobre o Armindo foi significativa. Depois do Rali da Finlândia decidimos que era melhor para ele fazer uma pausa, relaxar e readquirir o seu foco no desporto, e a forma como ele o encara. Trabalhamos juntos há muitos anos onde conseguimos dois títulos mundiais no PWRC, só que há uma altura em que temos de admitir que algo não está bem, e espero que tenhamos chegado a essa conclusão na altura certa.
A decisão não foi tomada de ânimo leve, e a equipa deseja ao Armindo o melhor para o seu futuro”, lia-se no comunicado assinado por Bruno Pianto, que conforme o Autosport adiantou, confirmou Atkinson na equipa.
A Beginning but not the End
'Ciao a tutti,
'It’s Bruno here. I’m sure most of you are surprised to hear from me right now, but I’m afraid I have some news that I wanted to tell you all personally. Unfortunately, Armindo and Miguel will no longer be competing with WRC Team MINI Portugal.
This season has been highly pressurised from the start. We only found out following Monte-Carlo that we would have the opportunity to run two drivers for the full 13 event WRC Calendar as a works-supported team. The original plan was for Armindo to run seven events as a privateer. Due to our long standing and successful relationship, we wanted Armindo to stay with the team for the full season and he was pleased to join us on our journey. As you can imagine, this was one of the biggest pieces of news that any driver can have. However, the pressure on him was significant.
'After our Rally Finland debrief and further conversations with Armindo since returning home, we decided that it was better for him to take a break, relax and regain his focus on the sport and how he approaches it. We've created a great history together and it's fair to say that he had previously always been motivated and determined in his career. We've worked together for many years now – we even won two Group N world titles together! However, there's always a point where you have to admit that something isn't quite right and I hope that we've accepted that point at just the right time!
'The decision was not taken lightly and was made on purely sporting grounds. It was not a personal decision and everyone in the team wishes Armindo all the best for the future.
'And to answer the question on everybody's lips...
'I'm sure you've all heard the name Chris Atkinson – and if you haven't, you should have!
Atko's a really top guy all the way from Australia, fast and experienced and he's going to take over as the team's No. 1 driver, flanked by the oh-so-experienced Belgian Stéphane Prévot for the rest of the season.
They're a killer combination and given how fantastic the fans have been in supporting WRC Team MINI Portugal all year we really hope they’ll be equally supportive of Atko and Prévot when they join us.
'It'll be his first time in a MINI on the test this weekend, but we're confident that Chris can handle any car he lays his hands on and his MINI will love him within minutes. We're all very much looking forward to working with him and Stéphane and seeing what surprises Rallye Deutschland has to offer!