The last time the Azores Rallye took place in 2019, the stages on the west of the island of São Miguel ran first with the stages on the east side deciding the outcome of the FIA European Rally Championship mainstay.
For the 55th edition of the spectacular gravel event, the traditional Saturday stages move to Friday and vice versa.

Speaking ahead of the postponed event in March 2020, Azorean youngster Rafael Botelho said the route modification was a “big, big change”.

“The rally starts with a very demanding day and the first stage, Graminhais, is 24 kilometres. Tronqueira is also more than 20 kilometres and then you have Vila Franca São Brás, which is very narrow with lots of loose gravel.

“In 2019, the first leg was 24 kilometres and that’s the length of the first stage. Really, it’s a day of survival because it will be tough for the drivers and the cars and it will need a different approach, you will have to be very focused.”

Another notable change brought about by the route revamp is the iconic Sete Cidades volcano stage forming the ERC round’s final stage.

“On the positive side, if you can say this, Saturday will be a shorter day,” Botelho said. “It will be a pleasure to finish with Sete Cidades and I really hope the rally can be discussed until the end with the fight open.”
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