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A stone placed suspiciously in the middle of the road on the penultimate stage of Rali Vinho Madeira led to a controversial Stewards’ Decision to penalise the crew who were about to win the rally.  

Bruno Magalhaes had led the event almost from the start and was first car on the road.  Alarmed at the obstacle, he then stopped his car and persuaded his rivals behind him to cause the stage to be halted.  

The cars then continued to the final stage, after which Magalhaes was 5.7 seconds ahead of Jose Pedro Fontes, who in turn was exactly one second in front of local driver Alexandre Camacho.  

The Stewards considered his reaction to be inappropriate and issued a penalty of 35 seconds, dropping him to fourth place.  

There was uncertainty as to how big the obstacle was. Fontes was declared the winner, but Magalhaes has given notice of intention to appeal.  

The Madeira Rally was not only a qualifying round in the European Rally Trophy series, but also the second round of the new independent TER series.
 
- Martin Holmes

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