After last year’s successful return to the north of Portugal, the 2016 event remains based at Matosinhos, north of Porto. The route is virtually identical to 2015, with just 6.52km of the 368.00km of action different to last year. A Thursday afternoon ceremonial start at Guimarães will be followed by an evening super special stage at Lousada rallycross circuit. The first full day heads north for stages around Ponte de Lima, near the Spanish border. Saturday’s route, the longest of the rally, journeys east for tests near Amarante. Sunday’s leg has just three stages, with the focus on the classic FAFE test.
Sandy roads ensure grip is at a premium for the early starters during the first pass through the stages. Hard or soft? That’s the big tyre question for drivers searching for the best grip on the soft tracks, whilst also trying to manage the wear over a group of stages. Rocks and deep ruts present an altogether different hazard for the second pass, requiring teams to raise the ride height on their cars to avoid mechanical damage.
A visit to FAFE. Head to the big jump and soak up the atmosphere alongside tens of thousands of fans.