Vodafone Rally de Portugal
|Vodafone Rally de Portugal|
|Stages:||16 (339.46 km)|
- After a Lisbon start, the rally journeys south to the Algarve for three legs of gravel stages in the Baixo Alentejo and Serra do Caldeirão hills north of Faro.
- The opening two legs each cover 146km and criss-cross the motorway from Lisbon to the Algarve.
- The final leg, comprising just three stages and 43.87km, is slightly further south
- A mid-leg service at the Algarve Stadium divides identical morning and afternoon loops in legs 1 and 2, but there is no service during leg 3.
- Regarded as the most technically difficult gravel round. Fast, open roads mixed with narrow tracks, littered with blind crests, make it hard to find a rhythm.
- Accurate pace notes are vital as many crests hide corners beyond them.
- A dry spring will mean the championship front-runners starting first must manage roads covered in slippery loose gravel during the opening leg.
- Trees and stones line the stages, both on the inside of corners where a driver looks to make cuts, and on the outside where a car slides if a driver approaches too quickly.
- The roads have a clay surface which is hard in dry conditions and demanding on tyres. If it rains they quickly become very slippery.