Paulo Leal, the Azores Rallye’s clerck of the course, previews the event that will be on the road on March 31st as part of the Tour European Rally Series, Azores Rally Championship and Azores Gravel Rally Trophy.

What can be expected from the next Azores Rallye?
The Azores Rallye 2023 will certainly be a top-class sporting spectacle. We expect a fierce fight for the podium places and we are making a significant effort so that everything is prepared for another fantastic, the 57th, edition. From the preparation of the special stages, to the enormous logistics that a race of this magnitude involves, nothing has been left to chance in the organisation of this event, which is, admittedly, one of the biggest vehicles for promoting the Azores, which honours us greatly, but also gives us an enormous sense of responsibility.

What special challenges did the conception of this edition bring?
The new regulatory framework in which the Azores Rallye is inserted, the Tour European Rally Series, determined that we had to significantly change the rally route. The biggest challenge was to achieve this change, without undermining the mystique and history of this extraordinary race, while maintaining the passage through the most iconic landscapes of São Miguel.

What will be the main changes?
There are several changes: the race will take place on Friday and Saturday; we will have the presentation ceremony of the teams on Thursday night; we will have shorter special races, which promotes greater competitiveness; the Friday leg is the marathon type, that is, without an intermediate service park, which requires more care with the management of mechanics and tyres. Despite all these changes, the 57th Azores Rallye will continue to have its headquarters at Portas do Mar, in the heart of Ponta Delgada, and will keep the essence of a demanding and challenging race. The ingredients for another successful edition of one of the best rallies in the world are gathered.
I ask everyone, especially the public, to respect the indications of our race officials, our marshals, and to contribute to the safety of the race and to the strong effort we are making towards environmental conservation, using the ecopoints that will be made available and keeping the Azores clean and beautiful as it has always been.
I invite you to come to São Miguel, on 31 March and 1 April, and enjoy our welcome, our gastronomy, our landscapes and a remarkable sporting spectacle, which will be – I am sure – the Azores Rallye, which is by all Azoreans and for all Azoreans. See you soon!