When Paulo Nobre reaches the end of a special stage and reporters force their microphones under his nose, the first sound they record is a deep grunt. The driver is totally out of breath, as though he had just given his all in a running marathon. However, once his pulse slows, Paulo delivers the wittiest live interviews of all in the WRC circus. Little wonder, then, that journalists form queues, and fans worship the driver.
Paulo regularly imparts his views of happenings on rallies, enthrals fans with folk wisdoms from his native Brazil, or simply humours the crowds when his words fail him while describing experiences on events. "It’s, it’s, it’s simple …" stuttered Paulo in waiting microphones after the Col de Turini on the 2012 Rally Monte Carlo before eventually forcing out: "…simply unbelievable!" One of the most famous stages on the WRC calendar left him speechless as tears of joy welled in his eyes.
On the Rally Mexico a rally journalist asked Paulo about his MINI WRC: "What do you think of the tyre wear?" Paulo, stressed after completing a demanding stage, responded with, "Yes, yes, I am very tired." Which he was, although it was clearly a misunderstanding, having confused the English term for "tire" with "tyre". Again Paulo had laughter on his side; "Another Nobre classic," grinned the reporter.
Brazilian flag on the roof.
That he wears his heart on his sleeve attracts fans. That his stage times in world rallying’s premier category are best forgotten, does not faze them. The person counts. An underdog fighting his David versus Goliath war resonates with the fans, who have taken him to their hearts. While other WRC drivers talk technicalities and the nuances of their cars, Paulo endearingly refers to his MINI John Cooper Works WRC as "Porquinho Verde": Little Green Pig. Paulo is also the only driver in the field to fly the Brazilian national flag on the rear of his car.
Paulo, a lawyer, lives in São Paulo and started his motorsport career in 1999. Rallying bit him, and in 2004 he formed his own team, the Palmeirinha Rally Team named after a football team in his home city of which he is vice-president and whose mascot is a pig – albeit not a green-tinged example. However, his MINI WRC sports a sticker portraying the mascot.
In succession Paulo has contested the 2006 Dakar Rally, the World Cross-Country Cup and the PWRC, and, closer to home, participated in the South American rally Championship. In 2011 he made the jump into the WRC, taking the start in the season finale with a MINI WRC, managing to make the finish in 29th
place – almost an hour adrift of winner Jari-Matti Latvala. The result was not, though, important.
Since 2012 he has formed part of the WRC Team MINI Portugal with Armindo Araujo. However while his teammate mixes it at the sharp end, an out-of-breath Paulo brings up the rear. As the saying “The last shall be first” goes, Paulo, invariably slowest on Qualifying Stages, runs first on the road, acting as street sweeper. Paulo is relaxed about the situation: "I have always wanted to drive at the head of the field," he says, adding, "I feel like a mini Sébastien Loeb." Then he gets into his MINI WRC and drives the Green Pig until he is again totally out of breath.
Michal Kościuszko and Jarkko Nikara are flying the flag for MINI at the icy 2013 Rally Sweden, while a rally great was on hand to offer advice to Michal during his preparations.
The MINI Motorsport family is large and embraces the whole world. Find out more about the MINI Stars worldwide.
Michal Kościuszko enjoyed a great debut in the MINI WRC for the Lotos Rally Team at the Rally Monte Carlo. In this Q&A Michal speaks about the Monte, the MINI and his goals for the 2013 season.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
MINI is once again represented in the FIA WRC in 2013. Michal Kościuszko is making his debut in the MINI John Cooper Works WRC for the Lotos WRC Team at the legendary Rally Monte Carlo.
A car built for victory. The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge races across the track at 240 km/h.
Experience MINI John Cooper Works.