Tomorrow will start the 57th edition of the Azores Rallye, organized by Grupo Desportivo Comercial, which is part of the Tour European Rally Series and marks the beginning of this season’s Azores Rally Championship and Azores Gravel Rally Trophy. The race directed by Paulo Leal contemplates two legs, divided between Friday, March 31st and Saturday, April 1st, and includes in its itinerary twelve special stages.
The programme for the first day includes the Qualifying stage, which will take place on the Lagoa Stage at 09:30, and will allow the fastest drivers to choose the starting order for the first leg. The competition itself will start at 13:00 and will take the 26 registered teams to a double round through the special stages of Feteiras and Sete Cidades, two iconic names and layouts of the rally held on the island of São Miguel. Finishing the day is the first passage through the unique amphitheatre of Grupo Marques.
The starting line-up in Ponta Delgada, the host city, is of great quality and includes, among others, nine times world champion Sebastien Loeb, Andreas Mikkelsen, European and WRC2 champion, and also the Czech Erik Cais, all at the wheel of brand new Skoda Fabia RS Rally2. In the previous version of the model, Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, appear the Spanish Nil Solans, the Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby and also the local hero, Ricardo Moura, who returns to the competition in this event. Such a set allows to foresee a lot of competition and dispute for the highly desirable podium places.
The main candidates to the title, Luis Miguel Rego and Rúben Rodrigues, both in Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, and Pedro Câmara, on board a Citroën C3 Rally2, will be present at the start of another Azorean championship. Bruno Amaral is looking forward to confirm his evolution with the Ford Fiesta R5. The competition among the many competitors of two-wheel-drive vehicles eligible for the Azores Gravel Rally Trophy, which also has its first event of the year, will also be fierce.