Vodaphone Rally of Portugal

By CHRIS WRIGHT sport@algarveresident.com

The highly anticipated Vodafone Rally of Portugal takes place next weekend on the competitive and spectacular areas of the Algarve and Alentejo.

The event base is the Algarve Stadium, where two super special stages will be held; one at the beginning of the event, April 2 and the second closing the rally on April 5.

Portugal is a country with a long rallying tradition. The first Portuguese Rally was in 1973, and for the next 29 years the event went on to become one of the most difficult and notorious rallies on earth.

The event earned a reputation for tricky road conditions (often a mix of gravel and asphalt) and unruly crowds of spectators.

Most of the pictures showing people swarming around cars as they drove by at full speed were taken in Portugal. Thankfully safety aspects have improved out of all recognition and there will be big local interest on April 5 when the areas around Loulé and S.Brás de  Alportel will vibrate to the sound of high performance engines as the area hosts two of the special stages.

The rally has attracted 75 entries from 28 countries with Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb leading the way after he cruised to victory in Cyprus to record his 50th World Rally Championship win and making it three wins from three rounds this season.

The Frenchman laid the foundations for his landmark victory,  he is the first driver in history to reach 50 wins, with a stunning display.

Briton Matthew Wilson (Stobart Ford Focus RS) is in overall 6th place.

For more information, please visit www.rallydeportugal.pt (available in English).