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Portuguese rally championship kicks off in Fafe

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56 crews registered, eyes on Meeke

The 2024 Portuguese Rally Championship (CPR) begins with the traditional event of Rali Serras de Fafe – Felgueiras – Boticas e Cabeceiras de Basto, better known as the Fafe Rally by enthusiasts, marking the start of the season as its first round.

Fifty-six crews are set to tackle the challenges of the Portuguese roads, with the significant uncertainty of rain potentially disrupting the race days, adding an extra layer of unpredictability to the mix.

At the top of the favorites list stands the British driver Kris Meeke, behind the wheel of a Hyundai i20 rally2. The former Toyota and Citroen driver emerges as one of the favorites for both the race win and the championship title, but he will face stiff competition.

Among his most formidable opponents are former national champions Armindo Araujo in a Skoda Fabia RS rally2 and Ricardo Teodosio in a Hyundai i20 rally2.

The list of entrants is full of noteworthy outsiders. From the young Bolivian talent Marquito Bulacia in a Citroen C3 rally2, who will begin his journey in the WRC2 in Portugal in May, to the Spaniards Sergi Perez jr in a Hyundai i20 rally2 and Alexander Villaneuva in a Skoda Fabia RS rally2, who have already announced their presence in the S-CER and may also compete in some WRC2 races. Also in the mix is the British driver Hunt in a Citroen C3 rally2, who is working to put together a competitive program.

A particularly intriguing aspect is the Toyota GR Iberica Trophy, which, unlike Italian races, also takes place on gravel. With ten crews entered in this first race, attention is focused on Bruno Bulacia and Josep Bassas, considered among the favorites for the win.

The rally will kick off on Friday, February 23rd, with the Qualifying Stage followed by three special stages in the afternoon, totaling just over 22 kilometers of timed sections. Saturday promises to be even more intense, with eight special stages, including the famous Fafe stage, which will serve as the power-stage, promising spectacle and adrenaline until the last second.