AFTER NEARLY TWO DECADES AWAY, THE SPECTACULAR RALLY STAGES IN THE ARGANIL HILLS REGION OF CENTRAL PORTUGAL WILL MAKE A COMEBACK TO THE COUNTRY’S WRC ROUND THIS YEAR. As part of a route overhaul, Vodafone Rally de Portugal (30 May – 2 June) organisers have confirmed a return to the historic rallying region for three stages; Góis, Lousã and the iconic Arganil that was last included in 2001.
It will be first time the current crop of WRC drivers will compete on the classic gravel roads that were mainstays of the event in the 70s and 80s.
The championship’s seventh round features a number of changes compared to 2018.
Matosinhos remains the rally’s service and administrative base and the city of Coimbra, 134km to the south, will host Thursday evening’s ceremonial start in place of Guimarães
Friday’s route is all new and takes drivers east for a repeat loop of the Lousã, (12.35km) Góis (18.78km) and Arganil (14.62km) stages. The day ends with the 3.36km Lousada rallycross circuit super special.
Saturday takes crews to more familiar ground. It starts with a lengthened Vieira do Minho (20.53km) followed by the well known tests of Cabeceiras de Basto (22.22km) in the Cabreira mountains, and Amarante, the rally’s longest stage at 37.60km. The day ends with a double pass of the 2.25km street stage in downtown Gaia.
The iconic 11.18km Fafe stage dominates Sunday’s final day with the second pass counting as the Wolf Power Stage. Drivers will also make two passes through Montim (8.64km) and one through Luílhas (11.89km).
In total, the route features 311.59km of competitive distance run across 20 stages.