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Bruno Magalhães: „Each round of FIAERC is completely different!”
27.03.2020

LIEPĀJA, LATVIA
27/03/2020

Bruno Magalhães is a recognizable name to all FIA European Rally Championship fans. The Portuguese driver has shown that he is among the fastest and most consistent drivers, finishing the championship in second place in 2017, and following that up with a third place overall in 2018. Last year, Bruno focused on the national championship, but that has not quelled his hunger for victories. This season, Magalhães will return to the ERC and compete against some of the fastest European drivers.

Bruno Magalhães ©FIAERC.com

“I am healthy and currently spend my time at home with my family. Of course, this situation is not pleasant for anyone. This is frustrating, as I planned to compete in both the Portuguese and European championships this year, but at the moment cannot compete in either,” says the 39-year-old Bruno Magalhães. “In the last few weeks, we have had to significantly change our plans, as we had been preparing to compete in the Azores and one national championship event, both of which have now been postponed.”

Bruno adds that he is spending more time with his family, and spending some time at the computer, but notes that it is a bit premature to think about competing virtually just yet. “Unfortunately, I do not have a racing simulator setup. Of course, everyone is looking for potential solutions now – it would be a good way to get some practice in, maintain my focus and do a bit of driving, but I just do not have a simulator right now. That is something that I will consider in near future.”

While simulators are geared towards finding the fastest driver, those competing in rally also need a good co-driver. Magalhães’ co-driver is… Magalhães, but the situation is a bit more unusual than it seems. After multiple successful years with Hugo Magalhães, this year Bruno will be co-driven by Carlos Magalhães, with whom he has some past experience.

“I have the same last name as Carlos, but we do not come from the same family. We are friends, and having the same last name is just a coincidence, even though Magalhães is not a popular last name in Portugal. Many have asked me about driving with family members and have assumed that Hugo is my brother, which also is not the case. Since we have driven together previously, it is a similar situation with Carlos as well.”

This year, Bruno will have the opportunity to showcase his skills at the wheel of a Hyundai i20 R5, but it will be no easy task. “There are a lot of fast drivers in this championship, and a lot of the top guys will return to ERC this year. An example of that is Craig Breen, who is a fantastic driver. It will be tough, but I enjoy competing against the best. The only way to improve is to compete against the fastest drivers.”

Magalhães’ only prior experience of the Kurzeme region stages was in 2017. “The stages in Liepāja are incredible, giving us the chance to go flat out. This event gave us valuable experience. I believe that Liepāja will not be my best event, as it is very different from Portugal, where we usually drive on mountain roads, and not wide open and fast stages like here. Anyhow, I will enjoy the event and try to do my best.”

“What I enjoy with ERC is that each event is unique. In national championships, the gravel or asphalt stages are generally similar to each other, but here the drivers and teams must face an enormous challenge in finding the correct setups right away. Things that work for Portugal will be of no use in Liepāja or Cyprus. This is a great way to better understand your car and improve.”

The fact that last year’s European championship had a different winner in each of the eight events, with Chris Ingram coming away with the title without winning a single event, serves as proof of what Bruno mentioned. “You have to fight not only with the nuances of each event, but with the local drivers as well. They are always fast on their roads, which is why there are so many different winners.”

So far, Bruno Magalhães has won two FIA European Rally Championship events – Azores Airlines Rallye in 2017, and EKO Acropolis Rally in 2018 –, but has gained a lot of fans in his 28 total outings in the championship. Now it is time to see whether this year’s title will be heading to Portugal at the end of the season.

©Roberts Graudiņš, Rally Liepāja

 

Rally Liepāja tickets are available HERE.

FIA European Rally Championship round Rally Liepāja is possible thanks to the support provided by the Latvian government, rally city Liepāja, as well as the Talsi region. Thanks to our sponsors Neste, Ramirent, and SC Grupa, our car rental partner Sixt, as well as supporters Canon Business Center – IB Serviss, Liepājas Olimpiskais Centrs, Pafbet, and Swecon. Informative support is provided by DELFI and media partners JCDecaux Latvija, Kurzemes Vārds, Sporta Avīze, Talsu Vēstis, and Zebra. The event would also not be possible without the involvement of all Rally Liepāja friends: Baltic Taxi, Flora, FN Serviss, Fristads, Jānis Pūce, Latvijas Pārtikas Ražotājs, Lofbergs, MB Grupa, Meža Dārzs, Red Bull, SignTech, Sportland, and Törley. Rally Liepāja is taking place with the support of Aizpute, Durbe, Grobiņa and Priekule regions. A special thank you goes out to the Latvian Automobile Federation.

 

Bruno Magalhães, Rally Liepāja 2017 ©FIAERC.com

 

Bruno Magalhães, Rally Liepāja 2017 ©FIAERC.com

 

Bruno Magalhães, Rally Liepāja 2017 ©FIAERC.com

 

Bruno Magalhães, Rally Liepāja 2017 ©FIAERC.com

 

Bruno Magalhães, Azores Airlines Rallye 2017 ©FIAERC.com

 

Bruno Magalhães, EKO Acropolis Rally 2018 ©FIAERC.com