Tiago Monteiro gets to grips with Algarve Rally
21 November 2006 – F1 Driver Tiago Monteiro accepted an invitation from Carlos Barros, Head of Peugeot Portugal to drive the safety "0" car in the Portuguese Casinos do Algarve Rallye and help with the safety of the race in southern Portugal.
Monteiro commented: "After this experience I have a new-found level of respect and admiration for all rally drivers and I'd really like to congratulate everyone taking part and in particular the winner, Armindo Araújo. I'd also like to thanks the Peugeot team for trusting me! I was not in the actual rally but was at the wheel of a Peugeot Sport Portugal 206 GTi for safety purposes and it gave me a chance to really understand how the driving skills are different to F1. Friday we started with the shake down and on Saturday there was a super special stage in downtown Portimão city.
My job was to drive the safety car in six specials I would set off to drive each stage 15 minutes before the rally cars to ensure that the course is clear and to warn spectators that the event is about to start. It all went without any problems and it was a great adventure for me. I believe that with my international co-driver Paulo Primaz we experienced absolutely all types of driving conditions: night, light and heavy rain, mud, water, slippery tarmac conditions, dry conditions, flat tyres even!
I really liked this experience even if I had scared Paolo terribly as I spun and crashed the car a bit in one of the specials! It is so different than what I am used to at the wheel of my Spyker F1 car. Indeed with Paulo we were spoiled by the conditions of the rally and the goodwill of the Peugeot team. I suffered a flat tyre and managed to hurt my thumb on the jack as I was changing it. I'm not used to working on the car myself as in F1 the team does all of that for you. The most significant difference for me was driving totally blind and to only listen to my co-driver for instructions before we arrived at every corner. The rhythm is quite tricky, but it's a great feeling when it's all working out. Again, I would like to thank all who have made this experience possible."