Excitement builds for bumper entry into WRC3
The entry list for the third tier of the Championship thriller is one of the strongest ever. It features rally winners, quick locals, and newcomers – the perfect ingredients for an exhilarating battle.
Championship leader Yohan Rossel leads the peloton in a Citroën C3 Rally2. The flying Frenchman has a 12-point advantage over the similar car of his compatriot Nicolas Ciamin.
Without an unusual turn over as he led in Croatia, Rossel could have had an even bigger margin to play heading into the fourth round.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz’s hopes of victory will be bolstered by his winning performance last time around. Despite being a seasoned driver in his own right, this weekend marks the very first experience of the Škoda Fabia Rally2 star in Portugal.
“This event is very demanding on the tires, the car and the crew – especially on the second loops. I want to tackle and I will do it with a smile on my face, but I don’t want to pay for my inexperience – as is often the case with drivers who are competing here for the first time, ”explained the Pole.
Estonian driver Egon Kaur is taking out his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 for the first time since second place in Finland, while Emil Lindholm will use the same Škoda he drove in second place in Croatia.
Young Briton Chris Ingram showed an impressive pace on his Zagreb debut in April and will try to put his Fabia on the podium for the first time this weekend.
A handful of Portuguese drivers are preparing to put on a good show on their home roads. They include local legend and former PWRC winner Armindo Araújo in a Škoda as well as Bernardo Sousa in a similar car. The 2016 national champion José Pedro Fontes is also present with a Citroën Sport and You-ready.
Former football boss André Villas-Boas will make his FIA World Rally Championship debut by jumping behind the wheel of his Sports and You Citroën this weekend.
The 43-year-old has coached teams such as Chelsea, Porto and Marseille and hopes to finish the rally while raising awareness of his Race for Good initiative.
“I have a competitive nature that forces me to be fast, and I don’t want to be the last. I know being the last is very likely, but I want to do well,” said Villas-Boas.
Other entries include two-time Spanish national champion Pépe Lopez in a Škoda as well as 2019 FIA Junior WRC champion Jan Solans in a Citroën.
- Full coverage of Vodafone Rally de Portugal will be available on WRC + All Live here, including each stage broadcast as it goes, as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis of the service park.