Some motorsport events come with somewhat of a legendary status; the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours, Indy 500, Monte Carlo Rally to just name a few. Well perhaps it’s time the Rally de Portugal got added to that list.
Back in the 1980s when Group B was at the top of the world the Rally de Portugal was THAT rally. The one where you watched Ari Vatanen weaving his way through roads lined with spectators, a ludicrous sight for modern standards.
In more recent times the Rally de Portugal has been based in the south of the country, and whilst it’s remained popular (as most rallies do) it’s never quite reached the same peak that the rally did back in the north of the country. Until now.
This year the rally moved back to it’s spiritual home – Porto. Or Matoshinos to be more precise. The rally has returned home for a series of challenging new stages that haven’t been run for over 10 years including the famous Fafe stage.
It was my first time visiting Portugal as a country and as a rally, yet again, I was pleasantly surprised by how pretty a place it really is. Up in the hills above the coastline were rolling open hills with bright flowers lining the stages – alien like rocks on some of the stages too. It was a beautiful place to hold a rally.
So, combine it with more of the most enthusiastic crowds I’ve ever witnessed and this rally should be of legendary status. Visit the Fafe stage and you’ll see a crowd of over 100,000 people flocking to the hills all to witness these incredible cars and drivers blast through the rolling hills and between the wind turbines.
If you haven’t considered visiting Portugal before then maybe this will help to change that perception…