Vodafone Rally de Portugal
|Vodafone Rally de Portugal|
|Stages:||20 (358,19 km)|
- Hugely popular event on technical and tricky gravel roads based around Matosinhos, near Porto, in the north of the country.
- Thursday evening 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 three repeated stages around Viano do Castelo, near the Spanish border. It ends with two tests in Porto’s city centre streets.
- Saturday is the longest leg, journeying east to demanding roads in the Cabreira Mountains. Three stages are driven morning and afternoon.
- Sunday is all about Fafe and its enormous crowds. All five stages are in the municipality, including a double pass over the legendary test itself.
- Fafe – a fabled test that first graced Portugal’s WRC encounter in the championship’s first season in 1973. It is only 11km long, but offers fantastic viewing and a wonderful atmosphere. Nowhere better to be on the final day!
- 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.
- 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. Or is it a mix of both
- 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 2018
- Action in Porto. Friday ends with two runs over a 1.95km stage in the city’s streets. Based around the Avenida dos Aliados, close to the city hall, it has only minor changes to the test used two years ago.
- Not much else. Apart from a few metres added or removed here and there, organisers have planned a virtually identical route to that which worked so well 12 months ago.
- Thursday evening’s opening ceremony at the scenic Guimarães Castle. Mingle with the drivers and grab a few signatures and photos before things get serious.
- The super special stage at Lousada rallycross circuit shortly after kicks-off the weekend in style. Up to 35,000 fans enjoy great views as two cars at-a-time take on sweeping bends and jumps.
- Fafe. The big jump before the finish or the hillsides overlooking the sweeping bends that precede it are a magnet for tens of thousands of fans. Unmissable.
- Porto’s Friday evening street stage offers action with a difference – wide asphalt roads set against a stunning backdrop of city buildings.
- Exploring Porto. A maze of beautiful streets converge on the mighty Douro river, crossed by the iconic double-deck metal arch bridge and lined by port houses.
Vodafone Rally de Portugal