For the sixth round of the World Rally Championship, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT has entered four C3 WRCs for Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau and Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson. Rally de Portugal is set to welcome an outstanding line-up for its fiftieth anniversary, with some fourteen new generation World Rally Cars taking part. Expected, as ever, to flock in large numbers to the Porto region – to which the event returned in 2015 – Portuguese fans are certain to be delighted by the show put on by the stunning new cars.
Like last year, the rally will kick off on Thursday evening in Guimarães, a city often referred to as being the “birthplace of the Portuguese nationality”. Following a super special stage held on the Lousada circuit and a night in parc ferme, the action will ramp up a notch on Friday. With adjustments to the route or run in the opposite direction to previous years, the leg’s three stages, each contested twice, will provide an initial challenge for the crews. In the evening, the competitors will head for Braga to contest a brand new street stage.
Saturday’s leg will be even longer, the highlight set to be the two passes on Amarante (37.55km). Sunday will see the remaining competitors tackle the Fafe stage twice, made famous by the huge jump located just a few hundred metres before the end of the stage. Gathered around this iconic point, tens of thousands of fans will serve up a uniquely impressive atmosphere!
This round will be a leap into the unknown for Craig Breen and Scott Martin. Having been let down by mechanical issues on the opening stage in 2015 and missed the event altogether in 2016, they’ll have it all to do as they learn about the stages!
CRAIG BREEN: “Just like in Argentina, I’m venturing into something of the unknown here. I did recce here in 2016, but that’s no substitute for actual racing experience. I know that I have to improve on this kind of surface, where I’m a little bit less at home than on the fast gravel roads you get in Poland or Finland. The testing done this week in Sardinia was positive. We kept working on certain points, taking into account the things we learned in Argentina. The Citroën C3 WRC will be even better in Portugal!” Number of appearances at the event: 4 Best result: 25th (2009)
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