'This is Max Pelucchi and Marco Moreiras again live from Jyväskylä, home of Neste Oil Rally Finland. Day Two just came to an end and it was a long day for the WRC Team MINI Portugal crews.
'Our alarms went off pretty early this morning at 5 o'clock and we set off for the Service Park to start another day of MINI adventures. Today's itinerary included eight Special Stages in the forest plus the traditional Killeri Super Special Stage in Jyväskylä's Trotting Track, totaling 133,82km.
'In the morning everything went smoothly. Armindo and Paulo completed the first five stages of the day with no problems and brought both their MINIs back to service twice without a scratch between them - what a relief! Paulo enjoyed the stages so much that he even said that he could feel the blood flowing through Porquinho Verde's pipes. ;-)
'Unfortunately Paulo hit a big rock and bent an arm on SS9 and when he was hurrying to make up time on the road section to SS10, he was stopped by the police... But low and behold, when he rolled down his window he recognized the policeman as being the same one who fined him back in 2010. It's a small world! The policeman recognized Paulo too and even though he had to stick to the law (of course!) and give him a fine for speeding they took a quick snap together (right).
'Paulo made it to SS10 on time, but his mind was elsewhere and unfortunately he then went off the road again getting stuck in 50 or 60cm of mud. It was a real effort to dig the MINI out and when Marco started the engine and put the car into reverse, Rui got covered from head-to-toe in mud! Finally though we recovered Porquinho Verde and now we have three hours to work and get her in top form for tomorrow to restart under Rally 2 regulations.
'Here's a little from our individual perspectives...'
'It was a long day but it's now finished and Armindo successfully completed all the stages with no problems.
'Before the services, we - Armindo's mechanics - do small briefings as a team to make sure everyone has their say about what should we do during service. Even if I'm the No.1 mechanic I think it's important to hear my colleague's opinions - our ability to communicate and work together is certainly a strong point. I always listen for example to Roby (Roberto Marastoni) - he is my closest friend in the team and he's older than me and has a lot of experience in rallying. His advice is very important to me.
'I also talk with Tomo - our engineer Richard Thompson - in the Media Zone before services (which is the first time we see Armindo after he comes off the stages). During the service, Tomo then describes additional problems based on the data he's received. As well as parts like bolts, arms and pipes that I check myself, Tomo looks at the software and gives me even more jobs to do! Fortunately, I have four other mechanics to share the jobs with. ;-)
'Another very important person in the team is our Team Manager Bruno De Pianto, we always listen to what he has to say when there's a problem but we try to let him do his work and not disturb him too much. I personally have a very easy relationship with Bruno - I go into the workshop in the morning and only bother him when there's a problem and even then I always try to present him with a solution at the same time (even if he finds his own way sometimes!).
'We've finished our work on Armindo's car for today. He didn't do any damage so apart from doing a complete check of the car and changing some bits and pieces there wasn't much else to do. It's always good when a driver gets the car back to service in good nick so we mechanics don't have too much work to do. ;-)
'It's a shame that we travel so much but don't have enough time to visit the countries we go to - a lot of times we only see the hotel and the Service Park. I've visited all the countries on the WRC calendar now except Japan, but I still like Italy the most! ;-))
'I'll be back tomorrow to tell you all about our day here at Rally Finland. Now it's Marco's turn to talk about today.'
'I can't say my day was as calm as Max's, Paulo retired on SS10 and we had to go and recover him. As his No.1 it's my duty when he retires to go and collect the car and the crew. It'll be a late night for us mechanics! But that's part of the job that we love as well!!
'It's quite easy to manage my colleagues working with me on Porquinho Verde - we already built a personal relationship a few years ago and when we're working flat out on rallies we don't really need to speak, just work. We all have our jobs and we do them! I always try to eat with the guys working with me on Paulo's car though during a rally, because this brings us closer together and gives us a chance to develop friendships.
'I chat to my colleagues when I want to chill out - although we don't have too much time to relax, as there's always something to prepare quickly. My closest friends in the team are probably the other Portuguese guys. We all joke a lot - we call Rui (Cabeda) 'The Italian One', because he's making such a big effort to fit in with the Italian culture in the team and Orlando is 'Grenada' - the grenade - because although he's really nice and would never lose his temper, he really looks like a guy who could get angry with you easily - a sheep in wolf's clothing!!
'After I've spoken to the engineer, I do a quick briefing with the other mechanics (or a longer one if there's a problem!), both so that they know what to do and because they're interested to hear what everyone else needs to do. This gives better perspective and means that if someone finishes very quickly then they can go and help one of their team mates out.
'I work on the front left of Paulo's car and on the engine. During regular service, I check things like water, radiator, intercooler and the pipes, then do a quick check of the MINI's whole harness. Tonight it'll be a little more intense than a regular 'check up' though, this is an emergency appointment ready to get the MINI ready to fly again tomorrow morning!
'Well I better go now, there's a lot of work to do on the MINI and the earlier we start the earlier we finish. ;-)
'Tomorrow is the last day of our MINI adventure here at Rally Finland - stay tuned!'
Max & Marco