At his first ever race with the Peugeot, in a rally that he did not know, the young Portuguese driver had managed to reach the top of the overall standings, after a cautious start to the race aiming to become familiar with the car, the roads and the team, three elements which he met for the first time. Unfortunately bad luck, in the form of a mechanical failure, caused his withdrawal after 6 of the 17 special stages, while he was leading the race by over a minute.
Pier Liberali (CEO of United Business, the company that takes care of Sousa’s sports management) said: "It was the first race we did together, I was well impressed. Bernardo is a true and fast driver, and although he is young he has been driving a very intelligent race. He started off slowly to find the right feeling with the car and stage after stage he set increasingly better times, until he reached first place. Then, as it often happens in our sport, the beautiful fairy tales do not always have a happy ending, a mechanical problem stopped him. Frankly, it was incredible because the car was brand new. I do not dwell much on this race, the important thing for us was to see the potential of Bernardo, after these days we spent together, all my colleagues and I give only one answer: This guy is really strong".
Bernardo Sousa said: We had a bit of bad luck. It was our first European Championship rally outside Portugal and we were leading. We have shown to have the pace to compete with the best drivers of the European series. Everything was new for me, car, team, Team Manager. I must thank PA Racing which provided a beautiful car, United Business and all the sponsors that made this event possible.
Despite the unhappy conclusion of this first experience, Bernardo now has the possibility of programming the 2012 season with good choices. United Business has received three proposals to have Bernardo compete in an international championship. In the coming weeks, Bernardo and Pier Liberali will make their choices for 2012.
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