Using all-asphalt stages in the Fafe municipality in northern Portugal, Rally Fafe Montelongo is set to host round three of the 2020 ERC season from October 2-4 following FIA approval.
Part of the Campeonato Portugal de Ralis Clássicos and Campeonato Norte Ralis, Rally Fafe Montelongo features a mix of fast sweeps and tight hairpin turns on smooth, undulating Tarmac roads.
The event is based in Fafe, a town with a rich rallying heritage. The headquarters are located in the Pavilhão Multiusos with the service park housed in the nearby Parque da Cidade. There will be no spectator access to the service park, while the stages will run behind closed doors in response to local COVID-19 protocols.
Fafe is located 70 kilometres from Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport and 15 kilometres from Guimarães, one of the UEFA Euro 2004 football tournament host cities.
Calendar inclusion rewards long-standing interest
The inclusion of Rally Fafe Montelongo on the ERC calendar for 2020 is the culmination of discussions between Eurosport Events and the Rally Fafe Montelongo organiser over the possible inclusion of the event in 2020 as an additional round rather than a replacement for the Azores Rallye. But following confirmation that the 55th Azores Rallye won’t run in 2020, those discussions were accelerated and an agreement has now been reached for the event to host the third round of the season.
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted the interest and enthusiasm of the Rally Fafe Montelongo organising team has resulted in the event’s elevation to the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time. The organising club, Demoporto and FPAK, the Portuguese ASN, are working hard to put all measures in place, including the strict COVID-19 protocol, to deliver an event that meets the requirements specified by Eurosport Events and the FIA. We look forward to working with a proactive partner to deliver a rally worthy of the ERC’s status. The agreement is for one year but all parties are open to expanding the partnership into future years.”
Parcídio Summavielle, Vice-Mayor of Fafe, said: “It is an extraordinary fact for us to have a rally of the European championship. We never gave up on presenting a solution. It will be very important for the public to help us, given the circumstances we are experiencing. It is essential that there are no gatherings and we will be very strict in complying with the rules of the General Directorate of Health. We need the help of the public so that everything goes well, we do not want to be a bad example.”
Ni Amorim, President of FPAK, said: “After the announcement of the return of Formula One to Portugal, this is another great moment that makes me really happy and, at the same time, proud of the spirit that we, Portuguese, put into everything we believe in. This achievement is a result of the work carried out over the past year. With the cancellation of the Azores Rallye for 2020 it becomes even more important for us to have this event and to have Portugal in the FIA European Rally Championship.”
Carlos Cruz, member of organising club Demoporto and part of the organising committee, said: “Rally Fafe Montelongo in the European championship is the culmination of an old desire that in 2019 was close to being fulfilled and now ends in reality. It is also an asset and recognition for the people of Fafe and its city council, for all that it has done in favour of the rallies and the region.”