Vodafone Rally de Portugal (18 - 21 May) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and is firmly established back in the north of the country for a third season.
The rally, one of the WRC’s founding members in 1973, is based in the city of Matosinhos, on the edge of Porto. From there it heads north and east for four days of spectacular gravel road action in stunning countryside.
After a Thursday evening start in front of the picturesque Castle of Guimarães, the nearby rallycross circuit at Lousada hosts the opening competition. Huge crowds will pack the track for a series of head-to-head duels around the 3.36km stage.
The action gets serious on Friday when competitors journey up the coast towards the Spanish border for three stages near Viano do Castelo. The test of the same name has a new layout, while Caminha and Ponte de Lima are driven in the opposite direction to 2016.
After service back in Matosinhos, the loop is repeated before two runs through a new asphalt street test in the centre of Braga.
Saturday is the longest leg with 154.56km of action. After a revised Vieira do Minho and the new Cabeceiras de Basto to the north east, the loop ends with the familiar Amarante, at 37.55km the longest of the weekend. All three stages are repeated in the afternoon.
The legendary Fafe forms the centrepiece of Sunday’s finale. After an opening pass through the 11.18km test, which finishes just after the famous jump, the new Luilhas and Montim lead into a second run through Fafe, which forms the closing live TV Power Stage.
The 19 stages comprise 349.17km in a total route of 1529.01km.
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