World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid: Bernardo Sousa leads locals with National win

2 Mins read
Credit: Bernardo Sousa

The BP Ultimate Rally-Raid marked the World Rally-Raid Championship‘s maiden trip to Portugal, and one can bet their butt that the country, already one of the biggest hotbeds for cross-country rally in Europe, would turn out in force. The National class, filled almost exlusively with Portuguese competitors, ran the first three Selective Sections and two days alongside the W2RC while the race was still in the country.

By the end, Bernardo Sousa led a 1–2 finish for Benimoto Racing‘s Can-Am Mavericks. Sousa, a longtime rally driver who has competed in the World and European Rally Championships as well as the domestic series, set the fastest time in both Selective Sections that comprised Stage #1 on Wednesday.

Although he finished fourth in the shortened third and final SS, held Thursday in Stage #2, he still beat his Benimoto colleague Filipe Cameirinha by six minutes in the overall.

The National class started each stage well after everybody else, which created a nightmare situation when rainy weather the previous week resulted in a very muddy course that was further damaged by those who went before them. National cars were unable to race the Prologue on Wednesday morning because the artificial track set up in the outskirts of Grândola was filled with ruts from the W2RC vehicles. The remainder of SS3 was called off for the same reason as the National field was unable to make it beyond the twenty-ninth kilometre, and final times were handed out by extrapolating their position at the moment the race was stopped.

Edgar Condesso‘s Ford PROTO joined Sousa and Cameirinha on the overall podium as the T1 winner. While a win is certainly something to celebrate, he described it as having a “bittersweet taste” due to the weather forcing the final day’s abbreviation.

“I love racing and I love competing until the end, and here I had the feeling that we stopped halfway,” said Condesso. “But, well, it counts for championship points, of course. A victory is always a victory.”

Brazil’s Gunther Hinkelmann, the only non-Portuguese driver in the category, finished sixth. Cameirinha’s navigator Jérémy Dubois is also not a native as he hails from France.

Nuno Madeira was among the three retirements after the oil pressure sensor broke off his Ford Ranger during the second SS.

National raced in tandem with the Portuguese Cross-Country Championship, which also ended Thursday. However, most CPTT competitors are registered on the W2RC side and will continue the race to Spain including overall CPTT winner and 2022 series champion João Ferreira, T3 winner João Dias, and T4 victor João Monteiro.

National overall results

FinishNumberDriverCo-DriverTeamClassTotal TimeMargin
1706Bernardo SousaHugo MagalhãesBenimoto RacingT33:11:51Leader
2708Filipe CameirinhaJérémy DuboisBenimoto RacingT33:17:51+ 6:00
3703Edgar CondessoNuno SilvaTeam ConsilcarT13:18:22+ 6:31
4709Nelson BeiróRicardo BritoNelson BeiróT33:19:24+ 7:33
5701Lino CarapetaFábio CarapetaLino CarapetaT13:20:09+ 8:18
6711Gunther HinkelmannMaykel JustoSouth Racing Can-AmT33:20:16+ 8:25
7702João LourençoNuno SousaJoão LourençoT13:23:20+ 11:29
8712João CarvalhoAntónio CarvalhoSantag RacingT43:33:47+ 21:56
9710Nuno FariaJoão MartinsBenimoto RacingT33:38:36+ 26:45
10715Eduardo RodriguesAntónio NunesEduardo RodriguesT23:56:35+ 44:44
11713Ricardo OliveiroPedro CaçãoBenimoto RacingT44:57:30+ 1:45:39
12707Daniel SilvaHugo LopesBenimoto RacingT49:40:43+ 6:28:52
13705Sérgio MatosSébastião DominguesSérgio MatosT19:41:32+ 6:29:41
DNF704Nuno MadeiroJosé JanelaNuno MadeiroT1DNFN/A
DNF714Tomás GameiroAntónio SaraivaTomás GameiroT2DNFN/A
DNF716Francisco DiasGonçalo CunhaFrancisco DiasT2DNFN/A
DNS717Joel MarrazesJosé MotacoJoel MarrazesT8DNSN/A

National stage winners

StageDriverTime
SS1Bernardo Sousa1:16:22
SS2Bernardo Sousa2:03
Stage #1Bernardo Sousa1:18:25
SS3João Lourenço1:52:50
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