WRC City of Coimbra to host Rally of Portugal start
For immediate release
Thursday, May 30th, 2019
COIMBRA TO HOST RALLY OF PORTUGAL START
MATOSINHOS (PORTUGAL): The Porta Férrea area of the city of Coimbra will host the ceremonial start of the 53rd Vodafone Rally of Portugal, round seven of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship, for the first time this evening.
Porta Férrea is the historic entrance to the Law School, which is the second oldest university in Europe and will be a fitting backdrop for the start of Portugal’s flagship sporting event.
Founded as a University in 1290 and built on the grounds of a former palace, its historic buildings include the Biblioteca Joanina – a renowned baroque library – and have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013. Coimbra was the country’s former capital between 1131 and 1255 and is the fourth largest city in Portugal. It is situated on the Mondego River in the centre of the country, south of Matosinhos.
Competing crews have now finalised their reconnaissance checks for the three days of special stages and all administration and scrutineering formalities have also been completed.
Prior to heading south for the start in Coimbra, teams were permitted to tackle the 4.6km shakedown stage at Paredes on Thursday morning and then several leading WRC, WRC 2 Pro and WRC 2 drivers attended the official FIA pre-event press conference.
Friday’s route for the 53rd Vodafone Rally of Portugal returns to the Arganil region in central Portugal for the first time since 2001. Two loops of three stages are scheduled during the day, split by a tyre-fitting stop and regroup in Arganil, before the day’s action finishes with a visit to the Lousada rallycross circuit for the seventh 3.33km stage from 19.03hrs.
Defending World Champion Sébastien Ogier will open the road in the first gravel challenge of 12.35km at Lousä from 09.48hrs on Friday morning and will then tackle the Góis (18.78km) and Arganil (14.44km) specials from 10.32hrs and 11.20hrs, respectively. The three timed tests will then be repeated on Friday afternoon at 13.51hrs, 14.35hrs and 15.23hrs.
Crews were able to recce the new stages for the first time on Tuesday and several of the front-runners had contrasting views. Ogier said: The rally back in Arganil is good news for me because it is a region with a lot of history in the rally. I had already done tests two years ago to prepare for Rally Argentina and I knew they were tough.”
Toyota rival Kris Meeke added: “The stages in Arganil seem very dry and dusty. There is a lot of loose gravel, so it will be difficult for the front cars. There is going to be a lot of dust hovering in the morning.“
Recent Rally Chile winner Ott Tänak commented: “On the recce I enjoyed the stages on the first day, although those in the north were slightly softer. They are a bit tougher now. The Arganil area has sections that force us to find another rhythm. I am still confident. I like the Rally of Portugal and I can be strong. On day one, in dry weather, I cannot waste any time if I am to have a chance of taking the win.”
For further media information:
Miguel Fonseca, National Rally Press Officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Lluisa Torras, International Media Relations, email: email@example.com, Mobile: +34 629 924073.