After they voluntarily skipped the recent Rally Croatia, Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Torstein Eriksen are back in action. The two Norwegians are looking forward to take the gravel roads in the vicinity of Porto under the wheels of their ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo.
“The victories in Monte Carlo and Sweden are not the only things which give me lots of confidence for the Portuguese WRC round. I also know, how well our ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo performs on the gravel stages.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, the reigning WRC2 drivers’ champion
The situation is completely different for Toksport WRT’s junior Marco Bulacia from Bolivia, who will be navigated as usual by Argentinean Marcelo Der Ohannesian. “After scoring zero points at the first two rallies of the year, things can only get better for me. The championship starts anew for me in Portugal. But I’m confident and looking forward to the beautiful special stages of this WRC classic,” 21 years old Bulacia looks ahead, who also didn’t attend the Croatian WRC round.
With the recommendation of second place in the WRC2 category in Croatia, the fast Polish ŠKODA pairing of Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak is among the favourites for a WRC2 podium position in Portugal. Their British brand colleagues Chris Ingram/Craig Drew as well as the local heroes Armindo Araújo/Luís Ramalho (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) are also crews to be watched.
The rally version of the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 is very popular with the competitors at Rally Portugal.
22 of the 52 crews entered in Rally2 vehicles rely on the successful Czech car.
Back in 1973, Rally Portugal was one of the founding events of the then new World Rally Championship. To celebrate it’s 50th season, the series hosts a gala at Matosinhos with former title winning drivers and co-drivers as special guests. Legendary names like Ari Vatanen, Walter Röhrl, Miki Biasion, Carlos Sainz and Marcus Grönholm as well as Michèle Mouton are on the invitation list.
The sportive part of the Rally Portugal begins on Thursday (19 May) with the start and a short show stage in the picturesque city centre of Coimbra. On Friday (20 May), the rally heads to the Arganil region, where eight special stages over 122 kilometres are waiting for the competitors. Saturday (21 May) is the longest day of the event with seven stages covering more than 156 kilometres, all characterized by a mix of sandy tracks and rough passages with deep ruts. On Sunday (22 May), the focus will be on the legendary “Fafe” stages with their fast and smooth gravel tracks including the famous jump. In total, the teams have to master 22 stages covering 330.16 kilometres. The winner reaches the finish in Matosinhos near Porto at around 3:20 pm CEST on Sunday.
Did you know…
…that the ŠKODA FABIA R5/Rally2 made his FIA World Rally Championship debut at Rally Portugal in 2015?
…that from 2007 to 2014 the rally was held in the Algarve region before moving back to the north?
…that in 2012 world champion to be Sebastién Ogier won his class with a ŠKODA FABIA S2000 and finished an impressive 7th overall?
Top-3 overall WRC2/Drivers (before Rally Portugal)
|1.||Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo||51 points|
|2.||Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2||36 points|
|3.||Nikolay Gryazin (ANA), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo||27 points|
Top-3 overall WRC2/Teams (before Rally Portugal)
|1.||Toksport WRT (ŠKODA)||62 points|
|2.||Toksport WRT2 (ŠKODA)||58 points|
|3.||Yacco Accr Team (Citroën)||50 points|
The FIA World Rally Championship 2022
|Rallye Monte Carlo||20 – 23 January|
|Rally Sweden||24 – 27 February|
|Rally Croatia||21 – 24 April|
|Rally Portugal||19 – 22 May|
|Rally Italy Sardinia||2 – 5 June|
|Safari Rally Kenya||23 – 26 June|
|Rally Estonia||14 – 17 July|
|Rally Finland||4 – 7 August|
|Ypres Rally Belgium||19 – 21 August|
|Acropolis Rally Greece||8 – 11 September|
|Rally New Zealand||29 September – 2 October|
|RallyRACC Rally de España||20 – 23 October|
|Rally Japan||10 – 13 November|