Number one driver of WRC Team MINI Portugal, MINI’s newly confirmed Motorsport Italia-run manufacturer team, Armindo Araujo had a positive start to the season finishing his first Rallye Monte-Carlo in the top 10 and is now set to tackle Rally Sweden, second and only true winter round of the 2012 World Rally Championship.

Aware that he will have to face uniquely challenging conditions found nowhere else during the season, the WRC Team MINI Portugal driver is determined to use his previous experience of the event, thanks to previous outings in a Group N car, to conquer the snow stages. He will make every effort to drive a strong event and achieve the best result possible in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC. After a 130km pre-event test on Sunday, the Portuguese driver was able to find a good set-up for his MINI to use during Rally Sweden. Now he looks forward to kicking off the event supported by his team Motorsport Italia: “My feeling with the MINI on the test on Sunday was great. We made a few small set-up changes which made a big difference and I felt confortable and in control of the car. Being from Portugal, I’m used to driving on gravel, but it isn’t quite the same with snow banks and ice on the roads, but having contested this event before in a Group N car, I have an idea of what to expect from the stages. It’s cold and it will be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m very proud to hit the stages representing WRC Team MINI Portugal and will do everything I can to exploit the full potential of the car throughout the event.”

Delighted with the new project and looking forward to the team’s debut at Rally Sweden, Motorsport Italia Team Manager Bruno de Pianto said: “Everyone at Motorsport Italia is very proud of our new partnership with MINI and new status as MINI’s official manufacturer entry in the 2012 World Rally Championship. We will do our best at all times to represent MINI in the best way possible and our primary focus at the present time is to get the best results we can this season. It’s a pleasure to be cooperating with MINI on this project and also to be working alongside Prodrive and any future MINI partners to bring as much success to MINI and its WRC programme as possible. Moreover, we are delighted that MINI has now ensured long-term homologation of the John Cooper Works WRC car up to and including 2018.”

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