Vodafone Rally de Portugal

Info

Vodafone Rally de Portugal
Start Date: 18.05.2017
End Date: 21.05.2017
Timezone: UTC 1
Category: WRC3
WRC2
WRC
Stages: 19 (349,17 km)
Distance: 1529,01 km
Servicepark: MATOSINHOS
Website: https://www.rallydeportugal.pt

Route

  • Hugely popular event on technical and tricky gravel roads based around Matosinhos, near Porto, in the north of the country.
  • Thursday afternoon 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 reconfigured stages around Viano do Castelo, near the Spanish border. It ends with two tests in Braga’s historic streets. 
  • Saturday is the longest leg, journeying east to demanding roads in the Cabreira Mountains and including a brand new stage.
  • Sunday is all about Fafe and its enormous crowds. All four stages are in the municipality, including a double pass over the legendary test itself.

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 spec

  • 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.

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 2017

  • Double fun over a fresh 1.90km street stage in the centre of Braga, which competitors drive twice at the end of Friday. Replaces last year’s similar test in Porto. 
  • Three new stage venues – a double run through Cabeceiras de Basto on Saturday and single passes through Luilhas and Montim on Sunday.

Don’t miss

  • A visit to Fafe. Head to the big jump or the hillsides overlooking the sweeping bends that precede it and soak up the atmosphere alongside tens of thousands of fans.
  • Remember to take a look at Jari-Matti Latvala’s dramatic 2009 crash when he rolled a Ford Focus RS WRC 17 times down a hillside. See it again at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrRNxB3i9rg

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