ERC FACTS: RALLY SERRAS DE FAFE, FELGUEIRAS, BOTICAS, VIEIRA DO MINHO E CABECEIRAS DE BASTO
It’s FIA European Rally Championship time in Fafe this week. Here are some facts about the opening event of the 2023 season, Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto.
What’s in a name? The 2023 ERC season opener’s longer-than-usual name comes from the involvement of the municipalities of Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho and Cabeceiras de Basto.
The big winner: Step forward Fernando Peres, whose tally of six wins is a Fafe record. Bruno Magalhães and Carlos Bica are equal second on the list having triumphed three times.
Thirty-six and counting: Bica was the winner when the first Fafe rally took place in 1988 under the Rally do Porto banner. This year’s edition is the 36th running and the third to count for ERC points.
Famous winners: Two drivers with World Rally Championship event-winning pedigree have won in Fafe. Dani Sordo triumphed in 2019 with Andreas Mikkelsen (pictured below) taking the victory in 2021, the event’s first appearance in the ERC.
Spanish gain: Nil Solans from Spain joined compatriot Sordo and Norwegian Mikkelsen as the only non-Portuguese winners of the event when he finished first in 2022.
Local boy in the rally car: Fafe isn’t just home to Portugal’s round of the ERC, it’s also home to leading co-driver Hugo Magalhães, who received special recognition in October 2020 for his achievements in rallying and the ambassadorial role he performs for Fafe. He partnered Bernado Sousa to Fafe rally glory in 2013.
Feel the power: History was made in Fafe last season when the ERC’s first Power Stage took place. Ken Torn and co-driver Kauri Pannas clocked the fastest time in a Ford Fiesta Rally2 (pictured below).
Fans first: Rallying is such a big deal in Fafe that it has a museum, the Museu do Rali, which celebrates the sport’s long-standing link to the town.
A great place to go jumping: The Lameirinha stage – complete with the iconic Pedra Sentada jump – is intrinsically linked to the event and is part of global rallying folklore.
The long and short of it: At 1.43 kilometres in length, SSS Fafe (pictured below) is the rally’s shortest stage, while the 15.05-kilometre Boticas / Sra. do Monte stage is the event’s longest test.