Vodafone Rally de Portugal

Info

Vodafone Rally de Portugal
Start Date: 17.05.2018
End Date: 20.05.2018
Timezone: UTC 1
Category: WRC3
WRC2
WRC
JWRC
Stages: 20 (358,19 km)
Distance: 1.583,08 km
Servicepark: MATOSINHOS
Website: https://www.rallydeportugal.pt

Stages

  • Hugely popular event on technical and tricky gravel roads based around Matosinhos, near Porto, in the north of the country.
  • Thursday evening start at picturesque Guimarães Castle is followed by big power slides for the crowds at Lousada rallycross circuit. 
  • The first full day heads north for three repeated stages around Viano do Castelo, near the Spanish border. It ends with two tests in Porto’s city centre streets. 
  • Saturday is the longest leg, journeying east to demanding roads in the Cabreira Mountains. Three stages are driven morning and afternoon. 
  • Sunday is all about Fafe and its enormous crowds. All five stages are in the municipality, including a double pass over the legendary test itself.

Iconic Stage

  • Fafe – a fabled test that first graced Portugal’s WRC encounter in the championship’s first season in 1973. It is only 11km long, but offers fantastic viewing and a wonderful atmosphere. Nowhere better to be on the final day!

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Challenge

  • Sandy roads ensure grip is at a premium for the early starters during the first pass through the stages. 
  • Rocks and deep ruts present an altogether different hazard for the second pass, often requiring teams to raise the ride height on their cars to avoid mechanical damage.

Car Setup

  • Gravel suspension.
  • Hard or soft? That’s the big tyre question for drivers searching for the best grip on the soft tracks, whilst also trying to manage the wear over a group of stages. Or is it a mix of both

Event History

  • First held in 1967 and one of the founding events in the inaugural 1973 WRC.
  • Initially a mixed surface rally, it switched to a pure gravel format but lost its place in the calendar after bad weather ruined the 2001 event.
  • Organisers moved from the north to the Algarve holiday region in the south and it regained its place in 2007.
  • Moved back to the north in 2015.
  • Named ‘Best Rally in the World’ on five occasions.

What’s new for 2018

  • Action in Porto. Friday ends with two runs over a 1.95km stage in the city’s streets. Based around the Avenida dos Aliados, close to the city hall, it has only minor changes to the test used two years ago. 
  • Not much else. Apart from a few metres added or removed here and there, organisers have planned a virtually identical route to that which worked so well 12 months ago.

Top Highlights

  • Thursday evening’s opening ceremony at the scenic Guimarães Castle. Mingle with the drivers and grab a few signatures and photos before things get serious. 
  • The super special stage at Lousada rallycross circuit shortly after kicks-off the weekend in style. Up to 35,000 fans enjoy great views as two cars at-a-time take on sweeping bends and jumps. 
  • Fafe. The big jump before the finish or the hillsides overlooking the sweeping bends that precede it are a magnet for tens of thousands of fans. Unmissable. 
  • Porto’s Friday evening street stage offers action with a difference – wide asphalt roads set against a stunning backdrop of city buildings. 
  • Exploring Porto. A maze of beautiful streets converge on the mighty Douro river, crossed by the iconic double-deck metal arch bridge and lined by port houses.

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