‘We’re Max Pelucchi and Marco Moreiras and we’ll be your hosts during Neste Oil Rally Finland next weekend, taking you behind the scenes with WRC Team MINI Portugal as we tackle a new exciting round of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship.
‘For the first time WRC Team MINI Portugal’s columns will feature two ‘voices’, so that we can keep you up-to-date with what’s happening on both cars (and because we were fighting about who got to invite you to share the life of a No. 1 mechanic on event)! Today, each of us will tell you a little bit about himself, his career, his role in the team and what advice we’ll give to the crews for Rally Finland – let’s hope they’ll listen. ☺
‘I’m Massimo Pelucchi but everybody calls me Max, I’m Italian and –I’m the No.1 on Armindo Araújo’s MINI.
‘I’ve always been a big fan of motorsport cars, especially rally cars, and working in this business was always one of my dreams. I graduated in mechanics – specializing in motorsport – and I started working in a garage where I stayed for a year until I saw a very interesting classified ad in a local newspaper.
‘Ralliart Italia – the sister company of Motorsport Italia – was looking for a mechanic. I applied, I got the job and that’s how I started. I joined the team in January 2004 and – like everybody else – I started doing simple and easy jobs but my responsibilities quickly started to grow.
‘It’s now seven years that I’ve been working as a No.1 mechanic, first in the Italian Rally Championship, then in the PWRC with Armindo and since last year at the top level of the sport with the MINIs. I feel very privileged as I have fulfilled my dream to work in the WRC and have had the fortune to get to work with colleagues like Bruno and Roby from the very start – we’ve made a lot of memories together!
‘Preparation for Rally Finland started a long time ago at the Motorsport Italia workshop. We run meticulous checks on the MINIs to make sure they are perfect and nothing has been left behind. After each rally we take the whole car apart, we clean it thoroughly and check every bit and piece before we put everything back together. If everything goes well and we don’t find any problems, it takes two mechanics from five to seven days and a lot of hard work to get this done.’
‘Enough about Max, it’s my turn! I’m Marco from Portugal, I’m the team’s Chief Technician I’m the No.1 mechanic on Paulo Nobre’s car – our beloved “Porquinho Verde”. I only started my adventure with Motorsport Italia and WRC Team MINI Portugal at the beginning of this year when I was invited to join the team by Team Manager Bruno and by Team Coordinator – and my old friend – another Marco. I immediately fell in love with the project and I left behind quite a lot to be in Monte-Carlo with the team from what would have been my sixth Dakar – two in the race truck and three as Chief Mechanic – through the Cross Country World Cup which I had worked on for five years, including two victories (whoop, whoop) to the development of the X-Raid MINI.
‘My passion for motorsport started very early as Rally de Portugal used to run very close to my home town, I used to go and watch the beautiful night stages near Sintra and the next morning – 5km from my house – I still remember hearing the noise of the legendary Group B cars. That sound is still very clear in my mind, I remember very well that I even used to grab my dad’s legs because I was scared of the cars – little did I know where I’d be only a few years later!
‘After that, the passion started to grow and I started very soon to work in a rally driver’s workshop near my house. I still remember my first job, which was taking the stickers off the competition car – the next day I couldn’t feel my fingertips! So after school – note: my mother never allowed me to quit school (luckily!) – I used to go straight to the workshop and that’s how everything began. Between circuit racing, rallies and cross country, here I am, so many years later. Time really flies and I will celebrate 20 years in the business in September.
‘As we’re getting ready for Rally Finland today, one of the most fascinating rounds of the WRC with fast roads, breath-taking jumps and great fans…we couldn’t ask for more! Fighting with the “Flying Finns” won’t be easy as they are at home but we’ll do our best, giving a lot of love, attention and good care to prepare our amazing MINIs and always trying to perform at the highest level.
‘As Chief Technician I’m really happy with the growth of the team. It has been a long ‘walk’ for all of us due to the tight calendar but we’ve always given 100% in what we’ve done so far. The relationships inside the team are fantastic and I feel I should thank the whole team for all the efforts, brotherhood and strength to help our MINI family grow!’
‘We’re going back to work now, even though we just arrived in Finland we’ve still got a lot to do and we have to prepare for the test on Monday. You’ll hear from us next week and we’ll keep you up to speed with blow-by-blow details during Rally Finland.
Max and Marco
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