Rally de Portugal's history starts in 1975, succeeding to Rally TAP, with an organization by Automóvel Club de Portugal. The names of the most famous international rally drivers are written in its ranking (Photos from Martin Holmes and Interslide)
An history made of 49 editions
Founded in 1903, Automóvel Club de Portugal (ACP) has always paid a very special attention to motorsport in Portugal and it is responsible for the organisation of the most important events from the international calendars. It was no surprise that in 1967 ACP put on the road the first edition of the TAP Rally, a competition which, within a short time, has conquered enormous international prestige and, only six years later, joined the first World Rally Championship.
TAP Rally, and later Rally de Portugal, has been responsible for glorious pages of success in the World Championship history, having been awarded for five times the title of “Best Rally in the World”. In 2000, it was considered “The Most Improved Rally of the Year”.
After having been withdrawn from the WRC calendar by FIA, the new ACP board, formed after President Carlos Barbosa’s election, worked very hard from 2004 onwards to put the Rally de Portugal back in the WRC calendar. This was achieved in 2007, with the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo roads as scenery.
From then on, except for the 2008 edition as a result of the events rotation within the WRC calendar, the Rally de Portugal has never again been left out of the World Rally Championship, having deserved unanimous applause from drivers, sporting authorities and Media.
After a decade in the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo, the Rally de Portugal returned to its traditional scenario, the North of the country, for an edition which attracted a huge crowd and was a great success.
Brief summary of the 2015 event
The 2015 Vodafone Rally de Portugal was a historical event for several reasons: the return of the Rally to the North of Portugal, the mythical plateau for the national motorsports, being the largest one. But this wasn’t the only one. On the contrary. Jari-Matti Latvala ruled over all others, starting with his Volkswagen Motorsport’s teammate, Sébastien Ogier, and got his first victory at the Automóvel Club de Portugal’s Rally, an event in which he presented a perfect strategy.
With a modest start to the event – he drove as low as fifth – the Fin stood out from the fourth Stage, Viana do Castelo 1. It was at this moment, after having won the test, that he took the lead of the Rally, a position we would never relinquish until the end – a perfect comeback after the withdraw on the WRC previous round with engine problems.
Meanwhile, the World Champion Ogier experienced the challenges of the North. First, it was a puncture at the start, and then the opening of the road, having both factors translated into poor results due to the lack of grip. Also coming from a tough trip to Argentina where he only managed a 17th place, the French tried his third back to back victory in Portugal (fifth in his career) by winning the second loop over the Baião, Marão and Fridão tests, as well as both runs in Fafe. However, the difference to Latvala was already too long and with the Fin taking his third Stage win in Vieira do Minho, the task turned out an impossible one.
Even so, Ogier managed his fourth rostrum of the year, having finished second, some 8.2s adrift from Latavla, while the Norge Andreas Mikkelsen also secured his fourth podium of the season, 28.6 seconds from P1. With VW managing its second 1-2-3 of the year, Kris Meeke was fourth with his Citroën DS3 WRC (+48.7s), followed by Ott Tänak on the Ford Fiesta RS WRC (+1:56.8s), and with Dani Sordo being the best amongst the Hyundai i20WRC armada; the Spaniard was sixth, more than two minutes from the winner.
On the WRC2 the winner was, as in the previous year, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Ford Fiesta RRC), while Quentin Gilbert (Citroën DS3 R3T Max) was the best amongst the WRC3 and the JWRC. Max Vatanen (Ford Fiesta R2T), Ari Vatanen’s son, won the Drive Dmack Cup, while Miguel Campos (Ford Fiesta R5) was the best Portuguese driver, despite the fact that the event was not eligible to the National Rally Championship.
Podium – Drivers
Podium – Cars