30 Mar - 01 Apr 07
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Ogier (2010)
Of the three new rounds in this year's FIA World Rally Championship, Portugal is the only host country to have played the role before. The first Portuguese round of the WRC came in 1973, and for the next 29 years, the event went on to become one of the most difficult and notorious rallies on earth.
Over the years, Portugal became most known for the interaction between the competitors and spectators. Standing mere feet away from the screaming rally cars was common place during the 1980s, but that all changed when a tragic accident brought about better crowd control and ended the tenure of Group B rally cars. Still, the mark had been left, and Portugal had a spectre.
After two years of candidacy, Portugal's return to the WRC will be a fresh start. Traditionally the rally contained a mix of gravel and tarmac stages, a combination which was never a favourite among drivers. In more recent years it was a gravel-only event, based on the west coast near Porto, but the new-look rally has moved to the Algarve holiday region on the south coast. The host city will be Vilamoura, just a handful of kilmetres from Faro Airport.
Portugal's WRC round will quickly become a favourite with fans and spectators. The rally has notched many top-honours during its history and was one of the most beloved in the entire championship before being replaced on the calendar by Germany's WRC round. Organisers are keen to return to the glory days of old, and with the two successful candidate rounds (2005 and 2006), they are off to an amazing start.
No active WRC driver has ever claimed victory in Portugal, as 2001 was the last year we had a Portuguese round in the championship. Tommi Mäkinen, Richard Burns and Colin McRae all found success here around the turn of the century.
2007 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen C4 WRC)
2006 Armindo Araújo* (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII)
2005 Daniel Carlsson* (Subaru Impreza WRX)
2004 Armindo Araújo* (Citroen Saxo Kit Car)
2003 Armindo Araújo* (Citroen Saxo Kit Car)
2002 Didier Auriol* (Toyota Corolla WRC)
2001 Tommi Makinen (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI)
2000 Richard Burns (Subaru Impreza WRC)
1999 Colin McRae (Ford Focus WRC)
1998 Colin McRae (Subaru Impreza 555 WRC)
1997 Tommi Makinen (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV)