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SÃO PAULO -- Ford was named champion of the 18th Rally dos Sertões, the second largest rally in the world, after ten days of racing and 4,486 km. The competition path went through six Brazilian states with varying road surfaces and difficulty level. Ford won both in the light trucks category, with Ford F-4000 4x4, and the heavy category, with Ford Cargo 1722e 4x4. In addition, Ford held many podium positions in the overall standings.
This was the sixth consecutive victory for the F-4000 4x4 in the rally and the first for Cargo 4x4, confirming the strength and durability of the brand.
"There is no field trial more demanding than the Brazilian market. Ford Trucks benefit from the experience of having been the first in Brazil and have more than 50 years of development. It's a win built on the work done on a daily basis to bring more quality to our customers, and the teams’ talent, whom we congratulate," said Pedro de Aquino, Marketing manager, Ford Trucks.
Overall light trucks category podium standings:
• First Place: Ford Racing Trucks’ Ford F-4000/Território Motorsport, with Mark Cassol, Rodrigo Mello and Davi Fonseca (27h55)
• Second Place: Ford Racing Trucks’ Ford F-4000/ Território Motorsport, with Vanderlei Cassol, Lélio Carneiro, Henrique Oliveira (30h03)
• Third Place: Asa Alumínio’s Ford F-4000, with Felicio Bragante, Ricardo Costa and Nelson Corder (30h49)
• Fourth Place: Kenner Garcia Competições’ Ford F-250, with Kenner Santos Garcia and Ronie Von Silva (32h41)
In the heavy trucks category, the champion was Autoline’s Ford Cargo 1722e 4x4, with Ulysses Marinzeck, Cesar Loureiro and Adriano Silva (32h47), fifth time in the overall standings. The Ford Racing Trucks Team’s Ford Cargo 1722e 4x4/Território Motorsport, piloted by Edu Piano, Solon Mendes and Marcos Alves, took third in the category.
F-4000 Six-Time Champion
The Ford F-4000 4x4, Sertões six-time champion, won the first title in 2005 with the Autoliner team piloted by Amable Barrasa, and has been on podium in every race since then. In 2006, the truck became second-time champion with the same team. From 2007 to 2010 the wins continued with Ford Racing Trucks / Território Motorsport, the official Ford team.
The pilot Edu Piano, team leader and responsible for the vehicles design, was third-time champion with F-4000 4x4 in 2007, 2008 and 2009. This year, he took on a new challenge, the Ford Cargo 1722e 4x4 debut, and gave the F-4000 4x4 steering to the brothers Marcos and Vanderlei Cassol.
"Both Marcos and Vanderlei are to be congratulated for winning in their first year riding trucks in the Rally dos Sertões. Having very competitive trucks in both categories only magnifies the spirit of our team," said Piano, who was also pleased with the Cargo 4x4 debut.
The main target, he said, was to complete the ten specials and get to Fortaleza. "This is in itself a victory and we succeeded, with the exception of the last special, which we chose not to start because it would not change our result." he said.
Double of Brothers
The Cassol brothers practically swapped victories in the specials and created a healthy dispute within the family, since both debuted on the trucks. Of the 10 specials, Marcos won three, while Vanderlei was the fastest in five.
"Winning this title was exciting. The team worked very well and the Ford 4x4 F-4000 showed once again that is safe, reliable and durable," said pilot Marcos Cassol. "For us with experience in cars races, it is very different to race in a truck," added navigator Rodrigo Mello. "I was a little afraid at the beginning, but as soon as we began the race that all changed. The truck is great, reliable, stand-up and surprised me. After this Rally dos Sertões, I realized that the rally spirit is in trucks."
For pilot Vanderlei Cassol, vice-champion, the experience of returning in a totally different category, after not racing for two years and finishing as vice-champion, was "indescribable." "We won five of the ten specials. It's amazing how durable the truck is; it did not even get a punctured tire," he said.
4x4 1722e Cargo: Victory of Weight
The biggest highlight in the Autoliner Team’s Ford Cargo 1722e 4x4 victory in the Rally dos Sertões was its consistency. After completing a flawless rally, finishing all the specials, the trio formed by Ulysses Marinzeck, Cesar Loureiro and Adriano Silva celebrated the heavyweight title.
"We did not win any race but were steady," said Ulysses Marinzeck. "The truck is super-reliable and we have a wonderful team."
Happy with the Ford Cargo performance, the Marinzeck is ready to continue. "We are ready for another year and will still participate in the Rally dos Amigos (Rally of the Friends), Sertões Series, Paulista and the Cross Country Brazilian Rally," he said.
For more on the Ford Racing Truck teams check out their dedicated channel on YouTube at www.youtube.com/fordcaminhoes.