The start of the 2021 World Rally Championship season has primarily consisted of brand new roads for the drivers, with just three of the 44 stages driven having featured on the calendar in the previous two years. That all changes with round four of the season as the service park returns to familiar territory, with 16 of Rally Portugal’s 20 stages carried over from its last WRC appearance in 2019.
Who is fastest in Portugal this weekend could also tell us what the pecking order is going to be for the next two months, as this is the first gravel round of the season and one of four in a row in quick succession.
Reigning World Rally Champion and five-time Portugal winner Sébastien Ogier tops the standings for Toyota by eight points over Thierry Neuville, the only ever driver to put Hyundai on the top step of the podium in the Iberian nation, who has also been on the podium at each of the first three rallies this season. Those who do that become champion more often than not.
There are 10 World Rally Cars hitting the stages this weekend, with Adrien Fourmaux staying in the second M-Sport Ford seat and Dani Sordo returning to the third factory Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC as he attempts to improve on the four third places he has achieved on this rally.
The WRC2 contingent has been struck by the removal of Toksport WRT’s Andreas Mikkelsen as the result of a positive COVID-19 test, but there are still 11 entries going for world championship points and six aiming to be the top Rally2 driver that are neither in the WRC2 or the 24-strong WRC3 classification.
Eligible for WRC3 honors are the crews coming from the top class of the Portuguese Rally Championship, which is currently led by 2019 champion Ricardo Teodósio. He’s done the WRC version of this rally four times already.
Here are all the numbers and figures you need to know before the cars hit the stages.
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC)
11 Thierry Neuville/ Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
33 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC)
8 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
69 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC)
18 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC)
16 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta WRC)
44 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC)
6 Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
7 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Rally Portugal entry breakdown
Total 79 crews
10 Priority 1 crews
11 Priority 2 crews (WRC2)
24 Priority 3 crews (WRC3)
8 Priority 4 crews (JWRC)
17 Peugeot Rally Cup Ibérica crews
9 Non-priority crews
Rally Portugal itinerary
Thursday 20th May
Shakedown Paredes (2.86 miles) 0901
Friday 21st May
SS1 Lousã 1 (7.68 miles) 0808
SS2 Góis 1 (12.13 miles) 0908
SS3 Arganil 1 (11.70 miles) 1008
SS4 Lousã 2 (7.68 miles) 1231
SS5 Góis 2 (12.13 miles) 1331
SS6 Arganil 2 (11.70 miles) 1438
SS7 Mortágua (11.29 miles) 1605
SS8 SSS Lousada (2.09 miles) 1903
Saturday 22nd May
SS9 Vieira do Minho 1 (12.83 miles) 0808
SS10 Cabeceiras de Basto 1 (13.90 miles) 0908
SS11 Amarante 1 (23.57 miles) 1024
SS12 Vieira do Minho 2 (12.83 miles) 1438
SS13 Cabeceiras de Basto 2 (13.90 miles) 1538
SS14 Amarante 2 (23.57 miles) 1654
SS15 SSS Porto – Foz (2.05 miles) 1903
Sunday 23rd May
SS16 Felgueiras 1 (5.71 miles) 0708
SS17 Montim (5.44 miles) 0753
SS18 Fafe 1 (6.95 miles) 0838
SS19 Felgueiras 2 (5.71 miles) 1004
SS20 Fafe 2 (6.95 miles) 1218
Total competitive distance: 209.76 miles
Total liaison distance: 731.24 miles
Total distance: 941 miles