It is a substantial confirmation for this 2017 edition. The French driver for Citröen, Stephane Lefebvre, will be present in the Rali Vinho Madeira (RVM) with the vehicle of José Pedro Fontes, the Citroën DS3 R5. The news was given today with great satisfaction by the President of the Organizing Committee of the RVM, Paulo Fontes, at a press conference at the Club Sports Madeira. After confirming the entry of the Italian, Giandomenico Basso – four time winner of RVM - aboard a Hyundai New Generation i20 R5 – BRC Racing Team, Paulo Fontes advanced that the best ranked of Citröen in the last rally of the World Championship Rally (WRC) will be in the Madeira behind the wheel of the car of José Pedro Fontes, who is unable to come to Madeira as he is still recovering from an accident. "I'm sure we're going to have all the attention focused towards the promotion and projection of this event", Paulo Fontes guaranteed.
"The rally continues with an attractive image, and with an international projection that makes us proud, because we're going to have 10, 12 foreign drivers and most of the drivers contacted the Organization, entered the rally site, read the rally documentation and registered their entry, knowing very well that the sea transport of vehicles is conventional" he reported.
"We have a Korean driver, a German driver, we have drivers with competitive cars, we're going to have 15 R5 class vehicles, the most advanced class for the Europe Championship, our European Cup and the Tour European Series, and therefore we are confident that the rally keeps a renowned image and an international prestige that, for us, remains a manifestation of great satisfaction" he stressed.
Entries with discounted fees ended on July 3rd. There are currently 65 drivers entered, of whom 20 or 22 drivers are not from Madeira. Paul Fontes confirmed that this year, we won't have the presence of Bruno Magalhães (who is not doing the Portuguese National Championship), José Pedro Fontes (for the reason cited above) and Pedro Meireles, Ricardo Moura and Pedro Moura, who have not yet registered. Miguel Nunes will compete with a Hyundai R5, fruit of the bet by Hyundai Spain with the Madeiran driver. "With this sort of vehicles, we think we're going to have three or four Hyundai R5 cars in Madeira, which will be very good," he said, noting the presence of the leading Madeiran drivers who, naturally, will fight for a podium finish".
Paul Fontes stressed that the rally is not comprised of the overall leaders in front of the roster. "We're going to have, in a lower class of the rally, a very competitive struggle, we have the best national drivers, foreign drivers with good cars, all of which will effectively create a spectacular show on the roads of Madeira Island, there will coexist several rallies in the rally," he stressed, adding that they also want to find a way to reward young drivers.
The President of the Organizing Committee of the RVM left a word of thanks to all the sponsors and to all corporations associated with the rally in 2016, which have renewed their commitment again, for this year. The thank you was also made to the Regional Government, the Funchal City Hall, as well as all associated authorities.