Rally de Portugal – 50th Anniversary
Portugal – With the extensive participation of foreign drivers since its very rst edition, the Rally de Portugal has been an event of international renown since its establishment in 1967. Initially held under the title TAP International Rally, the Automobile Club of Portugal’s race began as a regularity competition, with classi cation achieved through accumulated points and with the pair with the lowest number of points being declared the winner. Another peculiarity of these rst editions of the race was the ability for participants to choose the point at which they began the competition from several cities.
It was not until the sixth edition in 1972 that the Rally came to resemble more closely that which we know today, with competitors racing against the clock and victory attributed to the fastest nisher.
In 1973, the race became a part of the rst ever World Rally Championship series and, in 1975, the name of the race was changed to Rally de Portugal, coinciding with the rst of Marku Allen’s ve victories, which would make him the race’s most successful driver of all time. Since then, the Rally was recognised as the “Best Rally of the World” ve times and in 2000 was recognised as the “Most Improved Rally of the Year”.
However, the poor weather conditions of the 2001 edition, which due to heavy rain and mud led to the cancellation of 89.25 of the 390.72 km timed in the race, or four quali ers, contributed to its removal from the World Rally in 2002. Notwithstanding this terrible blow for all lovers of motorsport and the race organisers, the ACP set to work and after only ve years brought the WRC back to Portugal in 2007 with a competition taking place in the southern parts of the country, in the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo.
By that time, however, the FIA had introduced programme rotation, which led to the absence of the Rally de Portugal from the WRC in 2008. This absence only lasted 12 months, with the Rally returning to the Championship the following year. It has not been omitted from the series calendar since.
As experience of the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo tracks grew and spectator zones were introduced, the Rally de Portugal attained a new level of prestige and became an example to other events around the world that adopted the same system. And yet, more changes were to come, with the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo tracks serving as an impetus for the inauguration of the Fafe Rally Sprint in 2012. This event, which was initally developed in order to promote the Rally de Portugal and to provide a a one-o spectacle, was enormously successful, with the public attendance proving beyond doubt that the north of the country was prepared to once again host the Rally, though this change would only take place in 2015. And what a change! The public, drivers and the national and international federations were unanimous: the Rally had recuperated the heights of its golden years, providing an unrivalled spectacle, competitiveness and, above all, unquestionable safety. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, the Rally de Portugal continues to be seen by many as the Best Rally in the World. Undergoing constant innovation and presenting drivers with interesting new challenges like few others, it is a race which shall no doubt continue to do so for many years to come.
Issue Date: 17.05.2017
Designer: MAD Activities
Illustrator: Hélder Gomes
Size: 40 x 40.6 mm
Values: €0.50, €0.63, €0.70, €0.80, €0.85