The 43-year-old successfully completed his maiden FIA World Rally Championship outing, finishing 12th in WRC3 in a Citroën C3 Rally2. He acknowledged he did not expect the rally to be so intense, but Fafe’s famous leap on Sunday provided the biggest eye-opener.
“I was happy with our jump because I was scared to death!” said Villas-Boas. “We closed our eyes and hoped for the best. It was a big, big jump. This jump is not easy to approach, you get there so fast. We touched with the nose a little bit, but we came out well.”
The former Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Marseille coach only had one opportunity to experience the stomach-churning Pedra Sentada jump. The second pass of the test, recently voted the sport’s greatest stage by fans on championship website wrc.com, was halted after a crash at the jump.
Competing on his home WRC round was a boyhood dream for Villas-Boas and childhood friend co-driver Gonçalo Magalhães, who shared a motorsport passion from a young age.
Vodafone Rally de Portugal - André Villas-Boas
“We have the objective of reaching the end and we reached the end on a high note because we finished third in the Portuguese drivers, so that is something that we are quite honoured about,” he added.
“We had good fun but it is very stressful. The timings is stressful. The amount of hours spent in the car, for the last five days it has been 12 hours per day in the car. I was not aware how intense it was, so that experience was a shock, quite intense mentally and physically.”
Villas-Boas was also delighted by the publicity for his Race for Good initiative, which he is using to help raise awareness for three charities of which he is a patron: APPACDM, the Laureus Sport Foundation and Ace Africa.
“Every stage finish was also awareness for Race for Good. It has doubled the amount of followers on social media and that is important to spread the message,” he said.