Next: Round 3 WRC Portugal 24 - 27 Mar 11
New for 2011
With the exception of the new-for-2010 Santana da Serra stage and the three-lap superspecial in Lisbon, the competitive route remains largely unaltered.
Official Site: rallydeportugal.pt/
WRC round 3 of 13:
Portugal is and always has been a haven for world rallying. The gravel roads out as far west as Europe goes are among the best on the planet. Just when you think you know where they’re going, there’s another crest and another unseen corner to challenge your perception. In short, Portugal is a driver’s favourite.
Vodafone Rally de Portugal is based in the Algarve Stadium in Faro. Built in 2000, the venue’s finest hour - obviously before the arrival of the World Rally Championship - was being used in the Euro 2004 football tournament. And, when rally cars weren’t thundering their way through the centre circle, local clubs Louletano and Sporting Club Farense share the ground as their home.
But next week, football’s forgotten as far as Faro’s concerned. It’s all about Portugal’s other passion: rallying.
For the first time in the rally’s recent history, the event includes a stage much further north. There’s also a tweak to the timetabling of the pre-event shakedown for this third round of the WRC, which takes place, unusually, on Wednesday evening, with the crews all hitting the road north the following morning.
The first competitive action happens around the streets of Lisbon. The drivers are certain to receive a rapturous welcome on the 3.27-kilometre test, which is undoubtedly going to be one of the best-supported superspecials of the season.
With the return journey to Portugal’s south coast to make, the stage starts earlier than most superspecials, with the first driver into the test at 15:25hrs local time.
The next morning, Friday, the cars will be getting dirty as the competition steps up a level on the first of the gravel stages. Another first for this Algarve-based event is the lack of action inside the stadium itself. With Lisbon done, the winner of this year’s event will be decided after three days of all-gravel action in the hills inland from Faro.
Read More: wrc.com/news/preview-rally-de-portugal/