The legend of Fafe

What makes Fafe an icon of the WRC? We asked the locals

Fafe. It’s a name that only requires the quietest whisper to set the imagination of drivers and fans on a journey. A journey of thrills, of elation, of heartbreak.

But what makes these seven miles so special?

The Fafe jump, or Salto da Pedra Sentada (the seated stone jump), has become the focal point of the stage in recent years. But so many locations on this road tell a story, not only those where the cars take to the air in front of the crowds.

With help from Michèle Mouton, Kris Meeke and Andrea Adamo, we tell you the story of some of the most important spots on this undulating stretch of gravel. We also learn more about the history of Fafe and how this stage of stages came into being.

As the crews completed their recce on Wednesday, the DirtFish team made its own pilgrimage to the hallowed stretch of road. One which has made heroes – and villains – of some of the World Rally Championship’s great drivers.

Fafe starts in relatively simple fashion, with a technical but fast series of bends. The sun blinks between the trees, and it’s not long before you reach the first point of danger. A small post marks the spot of the tree stump that ended Meeke’s podium hopes in 2019 and demonstrates that full focus is required from the moment you leave the start line.

It not just about danger though. As the road climbs into the hills and tall trees are replaced by large boulders scattered across the landscape, reminders of legends of the past soon come into view. The Scottish flag looms large on McRae’s rock, before a descent into a valley brings you to the asphalt-to-gravel hairpin that has been the scene of so much crowd-pleasing oversteer.

Miki Biasion Story

Miki Biasion flies over the Fafe jump on his way to third place in 1991

The jump itself has an atmosphere all of its own. Even four full days before the rally, fans are already setting up makeshift homes, or carving viewing points into the landscape, such is the draw of this place.

It’s hard to think of another stage that contains so many significant locations and, as the miles pass, it’s impossible to prevent the atmosphere from working its way deeper under your skin.

Legend is a word often used in rallying. Join us as we discover why Fafe deserves to call that word its own.

Words:Jon Scoltock