The WRC Vodafone Rally Portugal is going to be the scene for the debut of new hybrid vehicles on dirt roads, innovating with three Super Specials (Coimbra, Lousada and Porto) and will also mark the 50th anniversary of the WRC. This is big news for the 55th rally organised by the Automobile Club of Portugal, taking place between the 19th and the 22nd of May. The world´s best teams and leading drivers will battle it out over 343.3 kilometres against the clock over 22 qualifiers in both the North and the Centre of Portugal.
The Vodafone Rally Portugal is once again a major event in the history of the WRC. The biggest sporting event held in Portugal will be host to the dirt road debut of a new generation of hybrid vehicles, a development in the technical regulations that serves to further increase interest in these Portuguese trials. So – which is the team that worked best with these new technical regulations? Toyota Gazoo Racing, the titleholder with the Yaris; Hyundai Motorsport with the i20; or M-Sport Ford with the new Puma? We will only find out the answer from the 19th of May onwards.
The first few kilometres on dirt roads for the new cars at the WRC can be seen officially on the 19th of May (Thursday) at the Portugal Shakedown Rally, to be held once again in Baltar/Paredes. This will be the last chance for drivers and teams to make their last fine-tuning adjustments and is expected to take place between 0901h and 1400h.
The day will also be marked by the start of the race against the clock with the Super Special in Coimbra, a complete first in the trial organised by the ACP which is set to begin at 2040h and a qualifier over three kilometres, a route laid out around the perimeter of the city of Mondego that promises to provide a great spectacle for fans. The event will also be the first time that the Rally de Portugal includes three Super Specials – two of which are urban.
As in previous years, the first ´serious` day for the WRC Vodafone Rally Portugal (20th of May, Friday) will be marked by the holding of four of the most emblematic qualifiers for the Central Region of Portugal: Lousã, Góis, Arganil and Mortágua, which are to be covered twice each (with the exception of Mortágua) before travelling up to the North where, at 1903h, the Lousada Super Special will be held. In total, these represent 122.88 kilometres over which the leading contenders for the different titles will become clearer.
On the 21st of May, the teams will face three repeat runs for the Vieira do Minho, Cabeceiras de Basto and Amarante qualifiers, the latter leaving from Mondim de Basto. Returning at the end of the day, The Porto Super Special is scheduled to begin at 1903h. A total of 159.14 kilometres against the clock are the challenge laid down for Saturday.
The round for the always spectacular Fafe qualifiers is down for the last day of the WRC Vodafone Rally Portugal. On the Sunday, the competitors face the same three stretches twice, over a total of 58.22 kilometres: Felgueiras, Montim and Fafe. As in previous years, the second Fafe Special will again include the Power Stage, the qualifier that rewards the five fastest drivers with additional points, regardless of whether or not they finish in positions that qualify them for the World Championship.
In total, the 2022 Vodafone Rally Portugal will cover 1,535.35 kilometres, of which 343.3 are against the clock in a total of 22 qualifiers.
The Vodafone Rally Portugal will be the fourth to be held in the Rally world Championships, with the WRC2, WRC2 Junior, WRC3, WRC3 Junior categories, together with the Portugal Rally Championships, the Peugeot Rally Cup Ibérica and the Toyota GAZOO Racing Iberian Cup all being disputed.
In addition to the motor sport, the Vodafone Rally Portugal will also mark the 50th anniversary of the WRC with a programme of events that are to be announced shortly.
Exponor in Matosinhos, will be home to the operations centre and the team support areas.
On the YouTube cannel for Rally de Portugal you can find statements from Carlos Barbosa, who is President of the ACP, with news on the 2022 events: https://youtu.be/HsfK4f6LKFM