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Algarve Autodrome opens off road park

By PHIL EGGINTON

Tuesday saw the official opening of the latest facility at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.

The Off Road Park is located west of the main circuit and adjacent to the Kartódromo.

Passing up and down the hillside and twisting left and right it gives a great challenge to drivers and riders. Varying from 6.5m to only 3,25m wide, the course has a total of 45 corners.

In normal operation, the park has three separate versions in use. These offer varying challenges including a light circuit, extreme circuit and endurance/trial circuit.

The park is designed for a wide variety of off road uses. Both cars and motorbikes can use the track for tests, demonstrations and events. Vehicle manufacturers have a single facility for launching SUV and 4×4´s, and rally teams and other off road competitors have a new test venue.

All can benefit from the excellent facilities of the general motor park including the main circuit, kart track, shops, and technology park.

Soon they will be complemented by a hotel and apartment development.

The Off Road Park was officially opened by the President of Portimão Câmara, Dr. Manuel da Luz, who praised the whole motor park project as “a case study of success” and an example of “successful entrepreneurship”.

The park was tested on both four and two wheels by Filipe Campos, national “total terrain” champion in his BMW X3, and Ruben Faria on his KTM.

Ruben who has vast experience of the infamous Dakar off road rally commented “I really liked this track. It is extremely interesting and not boring. We do not have a facility in Portugal that has these conditions.”

Paulo Pinheiro, CEO of Parkalgar, said: “The whole project is beginning to take shape. Our goal is to gather in the Algarve Motor Park all the areas for brands, teams, riders and enthusiasts who can then enjoy the variety of activities. It’s been a huge investment on our part, but we believe that only this size of project makes real sense. I believe there will be few structures in the world such as ours. Here, we are able to receive, for example, a team that is rallying simultaneously testing on both tarmac and off road. They can also use our briefing rooms, washing cars, etc. The versatility of our structure is our strength.”

Phil Egginton is Managing Director of Peninsula Motorsport, specialist motorsport services company based at the race track, allowing him to experience, first-hand, all the action at the circuit.