Rally Portugal 2021 – the realm of nature, green, sandstone and tricky curves. To host the World Rally Championship, the organizers had to prepare for months. To make the rally route existential, to make people interesting and, above all, to ensure safety. Here are the three components of the Rally de Portugal for 2021. What spices up the fourth stage of the WRC, what is the road map and who do rally fans betting on today?
The organizers of Rally Portugal 2021 have shaken the soul for the week: they needed 250 cars for the organizers, 40km of safety nets for the start and finish areas, 150 km of safety tape, 10 ceremonial arches and many more.
Rally Portugal 2021, the route
In fact, the route will not surprise us with anything new, and all the spices of Portugal have been placed on a shelf with a special road surface. This year’s route is very similar to the itinerary of the previous visit in 2019 – last year’s rally cancelled due to the Covid 19.
The 20 stages cover 337.51km with 1514.07km to go in Matosinhos on Sunday afternoon. Double passes of Lousã 12.35km, Góis 19.51km and Arganil 18.82km are separated by a tyre fitting zone in Arganil itself. The day ends with the return to Mortagua 18.16 km after a 20-year absence and a spectacular side-by-side super special stage at Lousada rallycross circuit 3.36km.
Saturday is scary: nearly half the race distance is packed into two identical loops with three speed tests in the Cabreira Mountains, northeast of Matosinhos.
The drivers face two runs through Vieira do Minho (20.64 km), Cabeceiras de Basto (22.37 km) and Amarante (37.92 km), the longest test of the weekend. The two loops are divided by service and a coastal road stage in Porto Foz (3.30 km) concludes the stage after more than 165 km of action.
Sunday is marked by the extraordinary Fafe, its big jump before the finish and its crowds. Five tests around the city begin with Felgueiras 9.18 km, with another long-term absentee returning. Montim 8.75 km and Fafe 11.18 km are next, before the second runs through Felgueiras and Fafe, the rally-concluding Wolf Power Stage, which offers all the key bonus points.
The spice of Rally Portugal 2021:
Firstly, this WRC race is in danger of becoming the longest of the season – 337.51 km. The shortening to no more than 300 km is now a trend in rally racing. Secondly, Saturday adds up to almost 123 km of competition distance, and since no service is permitted until the crews return to the Matosinhos service park at 8pm, mechanical problems could be costly.
The durability of the rally cars, the focus of the driver and the endurance of the tires are the main components of success at Rally Portugal 2021. The ability to survive without service for as long as possible will play a key role this weekend.
Rally de Portugal livestream schedule (local time)
FRIDAY 21 MAY
SS1 LOUSA 1 08:08
SS2 GOIS 1 09:08
SS3 ARGANIL 10:08 12:08
BREAK All Live 11:15 13:15
SS4 LOUSA 2 All Live 12:30 14:30
SS5 GOIS 2 All Live 13:31 15:31
SS6 ARGANIL 2 TV LIVE WF1 All Live 14:30 16:30
BREAK All Live 15:30 17:30
SS7 MORTAGUA All Live 16:05 18:05
BREAK All Live 17:00 19:00
SS8 LOUSADA TV LIVE – WF2 All Live 19:00 21:00
SATURDAY 22 MAY
SS09 VIEIRA DO MINHO 1 TV LIVE – WF3 All Live 08:00 10:00
SS10 CABECEIRAS DO BASTO 1 All Live 09:08 11:08
BREAK All Live 10:00 12:00
SS11 AMARANTE 1 All Live 10:24 12:24
BREAK All Live 11:25 13:25
SS12 VIEIRA DO MINHO 1 TV LIVE – WF4 All Live 14:30 16:30
SS13 CABECEIRAS DO BASTO 2 All Live 15:38 17:38
BREAK All Live 16:30 18:30
SS14 AMARANTE 2 All Live 16:54 18:54
BREAK All Live 18:00 20:00
SS15 PORTO – FOZ 1 TV LIVE – WF5 All Live 19:00 21:00
SUNDAY 23 MAY
SS16 FELGUEIRAS 1 All Live 07:08 09:08
SS17 MONTIM 1 All Live 07:58 09:58
BREAK All Live 08:25 10:25
SS18 FAFE 1 TV LIVE – WF 6 All Live 08:30 10:30
BREAK All Live 09:30 11:30
SS19 FELGUEIRAS 2 All Live 10:04 12:04
BREAK All Live 10:50 12:50
SS20 FAFE 2 – POWER STAGE TV LIVE WF7 All Live 12:00 14:00
WRAP UP SHOW All Live 13:30 15:30
The main bets are placed on the experience of Sebastian Ogier, but given the gravel surface, one can expect surprises from Dani Sordo. Theoretically, the Toyota Yaris will be the fastest, while the Hyundai I20 will be less fast but more reliable rally cars.