Vodafone Rally de Portugal
|Vodafone Rally de Portugal|
|Stages:||20 (306,97 km)|
- One of the oldest, best supported and most popular rounds of the WRC. Fast, technical and tricky gravel roads in the north of the country are soft and sandy initially, but become rocky and rutted later.
- Thursday night’s ceremonial start in Coimbra is followed by two identical loops of three stages, tightly clustered on historically famous roads near Arganil, on Friday.
- A spectacular side-by-side super special at Lousada rallycross circuit ends the first full day.
- Saturday is a marathon. More than half the rally’s competitive distance is packed into two loops of three tests in the Cabreira Mountains, east of Matosinhos. Three stages are driven morning and afternoon.
- An unchanged 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 medium compounds? 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 long 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 2019
- A new Thursday evening start ceremony in Coimbra, almost midway between the rally base in Matosinhos and capital city Lisbon, replaces the traditional festivities in Guimarães.
- All Friday. A return to roads around Arganil for the first time since 2001, prompting memories of classic battles from the 1980s featuring the likes of Hannu Mikkola and Markku Alén.
- Thursday evening’s opening ceremony in Coimbra. Mingle with the drivers and grab a few signatures and photos. It should be pretty relaxed before things get serious the next morning.
- The super special stage at Lousada rallycross circuit on Friday evening. 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.
- Exploring Porto. A maze of beautiful streets converge on the mighty Douro river, crossed by the iconic metal arch bridge and lined by port houses.
Vodafone Rally de Portugal