WRC - Portugal poised for more WRC action - Event Preview

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The FIA World Rally Championship is back on gravel from May 9-12 with Vodafone Rally de Portugal kicking off a run of seven loose-surface events in succession.

A founding round of the WRC in 1973, Rally de Portugal provides a tough test for crews but a huge attraction for the fans who flock to the stages close to the city of Porto in their thousands.

This year’s rally counts as round five of the 13-event WRC season and coincides with the Beyond Rally Forum, hosted jointly by WRC Promoter, the FIA and Automóvel Club de Portugal on May 9 and featuring several FIA representatives among the speakers, including Sustainability and D&I Director Sara Mariani, Women in Motorsport Commission President Burcu Çetinkaya, Head of Sustainability Barbara Silva and Secretary General for Automobile Mobility and Tourism Jacob Bangsgaard. At this occasion, WRC Promoter will officially launch its Sustainability Roadbook, which sets out how the rallying community is working to ensure the sport thrives sustainably for generations to come and leaves a positive legacy beyond the sporting sphere.

Rally de Portugal will also serve as an opportunity for various WRC stakeholders to meet and progress plans to further increase the promotion of the championship, with FIA Chief Commercial Officer Craig Edmonson and Head of Sports Communications Tom Wood joining the discussions in person in Porto

And it’s a championship that’s as wide open as it’s finely balanced with four different winners from the opening four rounds and six points separating the top two in the provisional order, Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans.

Both are former winners of the event, which is characterised by stages that vary from soft and sandy to rutted and rocky. This of particular significance for car and tyre preservation when stages are run for a second time.  

All RC1, RC2 and RC3 cars competing in the WRC use tyres from official supplier Pirelli. For Rally1 cars the maximum number of tyres is 28, including those used in shakedown. Pirelli provides its soft-compound Scorpion KX WRC SB tyre as the first choice for Rally1 crews with the hard-compound Scorpion KX WRC HB the option tyre.


A timed distance of 337.04 kilometres split over 22 stages is in store on Rally de Portugal. Although the route is similar to 2023, changes have been made. They include the all-asphalt Figueira da Foz superspecial stage moving from Friday to Thursday evening, no midday service on Friday, Mortágua becoming a double-use stage and Góis getting a new start section.In addition, Montim is back, Paredes switches from Sunday to Saturday and the modified Cabeceiras de Basto stage is now used twice on Sunday’s deciding leg.

The central city of Coimbra hosts the ceremonial start on Thursday evening with Friday’s four double use stages covering 129.84 kilometres and split by a Tyre Fitting Zone in Aragnil. As well as four repeated stages, including the 37.24-kilomete Amarante test, Saturday’s 145.02-kilometre timed itinerary features a superspecial at the Lousada rallycross track.

The famous Fafe stage, and its iconic Pedra Sentada jump, hosts the Wolf Power Stage when it’s repeated from 12:15 local time as part of a 62.18-kilometre route.


Stage distance:337.04 km
Total distance: 1353.08 km
Number of stages: 22


Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team: Thierry Neuville, the provisional championship leader after four rounds, heads Hyundai’s bid for what would be his and the team’s second Rally de Portugal victory. Ott Tänak, another former Portugal winner, and team stalwart Dani Sordo, complete the line-up.

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team: Young talents Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster bring plenty of potential to the British outfit.

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT: Having won the last two rounds of the WRC and the last four editions of Rally de Portugal, Toyota enters its WRC title-winning duo of Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä on the same event for the first time in 2024. Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta add extra potency to Toyota’s challenge.


Big on quality and quantity, the 39-car WRC2 entry demonstrates the popularity of the FIA’s Rally2-based category.

The championship’s current top three, Yohan Rossel ( DG Sport Competition Citroën), Oliver Solberg (Škoda) and Nikolay Gryazin (DG Sport Competition Citroën), are covered by three points and will all be in action in Portugal.

Gus Greensmith (Toksport WRT Škoda) was the leading WRC2 finisher on Safari Rally Kenya and took the WRC2 win in Portugal last season.

Pierre-Louis Loubet (Škoda) and Teemu Suninen (Hyundai) make their first starts of the WRC2 season driving with Škoda and Hyundai power respectively after stepping back from Rally1 level, with Sami Pajari aiming to record the first WRC2 victory for the Toyota GR Yaris Rally2.

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy's William Creighton (Ford Fiesta Mk II) is the FIA Junior WRC champion from 2023, while Kris Meeke (Hyundai i20 N) – a five-time WRC event winner, has taken three victories in this year’s Portuguese championship, of which Rally de Portugal is the fourth event of the season.

Portuguese Paulo Neto and Czech Jan Černý are the leading seeds in the FIA WRC Masters’ Cup and FIA WRC3 respectively.


Media accreditation

Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Desk, Exponor – Feira Internacional do Porto, Avenida Dr. António Macedo, 574 - Leça da Palmeia - 4454-515 Matosinhos. GPS Coordinates: 41°11'58.3"N 8°41'32.1"W.

Media Accreditation – Opening hours:
Tuesday May 7: 14:00 – 19:00 hrs
Wednesday May 8: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs
Thursday May 9: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs

Media Centre

The Media Centre is located at: Exponor – Feira Internacional do Porto, Avenida Dr. António Macedo, 574 - Leça da Palmeia - 4454-515 Matosinhos. 

Media Center – Opening hours:
Tuesday May 7: 14:00 – 19:00 hrs
Wednesday May 8: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs
Thursday May 9: 08:00 – 22:00 hrs
Friday May 10: 08:00 – 23:00 hrs
Saturday May 11: 07:00 – 23:00 hrs
Sunday May 12: 06:30 – 22:00hrs

Rally de Portugal - Media Activities and Opportunities 

Wednesday May 8 
15:00Photoshooting with selected P1 cars, Porto (Cubo/Ribeira) 
17:00Mandatory Tabard Media Safety Briefing, Media Centre
18:00Race for Glory premier, Exponor amphitheatre  
Thursday May 9 
08:01 – 09:30  Shakedown for P1 drivers and invited P2 drivers (Baltar, 4.61 km)
09:31 – 11:00  Shakedown for P1, P2 and P3 drivers (Baltar, 4.61 km)
11:00 – 12:30FIA WRC Media Pen, Exponor
11:01 – 12:30Shakedown for P2, P3 and non-priority drivers (Baltar, 4.61 km)
16:00 – 16:30Autograph signing for all P1 crews and selected P2 crews, Mosteiro de St. Clara, Coimbra
16:40 – 16:45WRC Drivers’ Official Photograph, Mosteiro de St. Clara, Coimbra
17:00Ceremonial Start/Start of the Rally, Section 1, TC 0, Coimbra
18:25 – 18:35FIA WRC Meet the Crews (selected P2 and P3 crews), public area, SSS1
18:35 – 18:45FIA WRC Meet the Crews (selected P1 crews), public area, SSS1
Friday May 10 
06:45Start of Section 2, TC1B – Figueira da Foz
20:45 FIA WRC Meet the Crews (P1 Team Principals and top three drivers), Exponor
Saturday May 11 
07:00Start of Section 4, TC9D – Exponor
21:00FIA WRC Meet the Crews (P1 Team Principals and top three drivers), Exponor
Sunday May 12 
05:30Start of Section 6, TC18D – Exponor
12:15Start of Wolf Power Stage SS22 – Fafe 2 
14:25Rally Finish TC22D – Matosinhos 
15:15FIA Post-rally Press Conference, Podium, Matosinhos 
15:45Trophy presentation Podium, Matosinhos
(All times local, approximate and subject to change)

Media zones

Media Zones attended by all drivers and selected team representatives will operate as follows: 
TC5A, TC9A, TC13A, TC18A and TC22A

FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interviews, public area, SSS1, Thursday May 9

FIA WRC2: Armindo Araújo (PRT), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
FIA WRC2: Kris Meeke (GBR), Hyundai i20 N Rally2
FIA WRC2 Challenger: Janni Hussi (FIN) – co-driver to Lauri Joona, Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
FIA WRC3: Diego Dominguez (PRY), Ford Fiesta Rally3

Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team – Thierry Neuville (BEL), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team – Dani Sordo (ESP), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Grégoire Munster (LUX), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Sébastien Ogier (GBR), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid

FIA Post-event Press Conference, Matosinhos, Sunday May 12, 15:15 hrs

Top 3 drivers in overall classification and winning co-driver
Representative of winning manufacturer
Winning FIA WRC2, WRC2 Challenger, WRC3 and WRC Masters Cup drivers
FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interviews and FIA Post-event Press Conference broadcast on FIA and WRC social media channels.


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRTElfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) - #33
 Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN) - #69
 Takamoto Katsuta (JPN)/Aaron Johnston (IRL) - #18
 Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Vincent Landais (FRA) - #17
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRTThierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) - #11
 Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) - #8
 Dani Sordo (ESP)/Cándido Carrera (ESP) - #6
M-Sport Ford WRTAdrien Fourmaux (FRA)/Alexandre Coria (FRA) - #16
 Grégoire Munster (LUX)/Louis Louka (BEL) - #13


The provisional classifications following round two of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship are available here:https://www.fia.com/events/world-rally-championship/season-2024/standings


1. K. Rovanperä (FIN)/J. Halttunen (FIN) Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid3h35m11.7s
2. D. Sordo (ESP)/C. Carrera (ESP)Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid+54.7s
3. E. Lappi (FIN)/J. Ferm (FIN) Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid+1m20.3s


2023Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN)Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid
2022Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN)Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid
2021Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR)Toyota Yaris WRC
2019Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST)Toyota Yaris WRC
2018Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC