Rally Portugal gets Lisbon street stage

The 2011 Vodafone Rally of Portugal, (24 and 27 March), will continue to be based in the Algarve, but after the recce and Shakedown on Wednesday the teams and drivers will make the 300km journey north-west to Lisbon for a full day of activities on Thursday centred on a 3km street stage at the Praça do Império.

Following the success of this year’s WRC roadshow in Porto that drew 40,000 spectators, the organisers of Rally Portugal will go one better in 2011, with a brand new Superspecial stage right in the heart of the Portuguese capital Lisbon.

At 1000hrs crews will recce the stage, but as part an environmental initiative introduced by rally organisers they will do so in electric cars. A programme of autograph sessions and driver and car parades will follow before the actual competition, which will take the form of a pursuit race, with groups of at least three cars.

The Superspecial uses the roads bordering the Jerónimos Monastery, Centro Cultural de Belém and the Museum of the Navy and will be held over three laps, with roundabouts, chicanes and a jump. Once the Superspecial is complete, the field will move back to the Algarve Stadium, where the event will resume its traditional format.

A statement from the organisers said: “Lisbon was directly involved in the early editions of the Rally TAP, with Parque Eduardo VII serving as a stage that drew fans from across the country. Since then, Lisbon has lost any connection to the sporting side of the event. However, now Automóvel Club de Portugal (ACP) has redressed that situation, as the WRC begins a new phase in its history, with new technical regulation and cars.

“The current trend implemented by the promoter of the championship - NorthOne Sport - and supported by the manufacturers, means organizers are encouraged to provide every event with greater contact with the public, particularly in populated areas. Therefore, the ACP has launched this project to bring the WRC to Lisbon, an initiative that has generated enormous enthusiasm across the board.”


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