Rally Portugal Preview

The FIA World Rally Championship switches to gravel for the first of four successive loose-surface counters. An event steeped in history as a founding round of the WRC back in 1973, 

Following the cancellation of the event 12 months ago, Rally de Portugal is back as the fourth round of the 2021 WRC season.

Based in Matosinhos, close to Porto, 20 stages over a timed distance of 337.51 kilometres provide the challenge on this year’s event, the sixth edition to be held in the north of Portugal since the rally’s return to its traditional home in 2015.

The stages are notably soft and sandy on the first pass, but the emergence of a hard bedrock for the rerun places an onus on limiting the wear rates of the Pirelli Scorpion KX tyre, which is making its first appearance in this year’s WRC and is available in a hard and soft compound.

Starting position is also a factor on Rally de Portugal, with a lower running order the preference, especially if the weather conditions remain dry.

Changes to the route for 2021 include the return of the Mortágua stage on Friday’s opening leg for the first time since 2000. Felgueiras, which forms part of the route for Sunday’s deciding leg, is back after a long absence, while Saturday’s Amarante test is the rally’s longest stage at 37.92 kilometres.