11 - 14 Apr 13
Categories:WRC, WRC-2, WRC-3, JWRC
Most Recent Winner:Mads Ostberg (2012)
Rally de Portugal retains the broad format of 2012, with three days of competition in the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo regions. With the recce held on 9 and 10 April, the Qualifying Stage (April 11) returns to Vale do Judeu. Later that day, and for the first time since its return to the WRC, Rally de Portugal will feature a ceremonial start in the setting of the Vilamoura Marina, echoing the 2005 and 2006 rallies, which ran as candidate events ahead of the rally’s return to the WRC.
Portugal’s stages, which include a mixture of open roads and technical and narrow sections, are characterised by their abrasive surface. This puts the onus on tyre wear although the April date means this might not be as apparent as in 2010 when tyre wear rates were reported as being 40 per cent higher than on other gravel rallies.
There have been changes to the superspecial stage around the Praca do Imperia in Lisbon on the evening of 12 April, to enhance the spectators’ experience. The start of the stage (run in reverse order) will take place at 18.15hrs, following the recce, carried out in the competing cars, as well as a classic car event. At 18.00hrs, there will be an autograph session featuring the main drivers.
The second competitive day (Saturday April 13) is also the longest, with 158.54km and includes a new combination of special stages. Loulé, now 22.78km in length, is run in the opposite direction from previous years and all three special stages will be used twice during the day.
The last day of the event - Sunday, April 14 - includes the biggest change, and probably challenge, of the event: The new Almodôvar stage, 52.3 km in length, will be one of the longest gravel European stages of the entire WRC. Bringing together the best of the old Ourique and Almodôvar stages, this test will complete the 2013 Vodafone Rally de Portugal, forming the Power Stage of the event as its last run. In total, the rally has 15 stages over 386.7 km.
Some extra interest may come from the fact that it is being predicted that it could be the rally where VW shows its true potential. Nobody will really know for sure how the car is until then,” said Juha Kankkunen, who drove for Volkswagen on the Dakar Rally with the Race Touareg. “Monte is a bit of a lottery, which always comes down to tyre choice, luck and weather, Sweden is very specialised, and while I don’t really know Rally Mexico it’s a long way away and at high altitude. Portugal is the first normal gravel rally and there will be three cars: I think that is when you can see the real pace of the Polo compared to everyone else.”