FIA

Rally de Portugal
on the move

Next year’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal will return to its traditional heartland in the north of the country.

The famous Fafe stage could return to Rally de Portugal

It will be based in Matosinhos, home to the event from 1998 to 2000, after 10 years in the south coast Algarve holiday region.

The rally was a founding member of the FIA World Rally Championship when it began in 1973, and huge crowds tracked its progress in the following years over famous asphalt and gravel stages in the north such as Fafe and Arganil.

However, it lost its place in the WRC after bad weather ruined the 2001 edition. It was reborn in the south and returned to the series in 2007, based on the edge of Faro.

Event organiser Automóvel Club de Portugal has looked at moving north for the last couple of seasons but finance has proved a stumbling block until now.

Matosinhos, which lies close to Porto, will host the rally base and service park with all the stages north of the Douro river. That is likely to signal the return of Fafe, which attracted more than 100,000 fans to a pre-event rallysprint this year, and other classic tests like Ponte de Lima.

This year’s rally was in April but a request to move from the traditional date has been submitted to WRC Promoter for consideration.

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