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, conquered enormous international prestige and, only six years later, joined the first World Rally Championship.
TAP Rally, and later Portugal Rally, has been responsible for glorious pages of success in 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After having been withdrawn from the WRC calendar by FIA, the new ACP board, formed after President Carlos Barbosa’s election, worked very hard from 2004 to put the Rally de Portugal back in the WRC calendar, what was achieved in 2007, with the Algarve roads as scenery.
As a result of the events rotation within the WRC calendar, Portugal Rally has been out of the 2008 Championship, but was back in 2009, receiving the unanimous applause from drivers, sporting authorities and Media.
After a decade in the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo, of which seven years as part of the WRC calendar, and more than ten years since the last visit of the World Rally Championship to the Entre Douro e Minho region, the Vodafone Rally de Portugal returns to the North of the country in 2015. This will offer the WRC present stars the opportunity of experiencing first hand all the emotions and difficulties which have made the ACP event a mythical one.
Brief summary of the 2015 event
The 2015 Vodafone Rally de Portugal was an 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, 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 wining 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 demands of the North; first was a puncture at the start, and then the opening of the road, both factors translated into poor results due to the lack of grip. The French, also coming from a tough trip to Argentina, where he only managed a 17th place, tried his third back to back victory in Portugal (fifth of the 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 to 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, finishing 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 event not being eligible to the National Rally Championship.
Podium – Drivers
Podium – Cars
2010 / 2015
2000 / 2009
1990 / 1999
1980 / 1989
1970 / 1979
1967 / 1969