While Rally di Roma Capitale and Rally Liepāja were known quantities for the bulk of the FIA European Rally Championship stars, Rally Fafe Montelago, which takes place in northern Portugal from October 2-4, is very much unchartered territory for the ERC contingent.
Scheduled as the third event of the 2020 ERC season, Rally Fafe Montelago presents an intriguing prospect with all drivers heading to the event on an even footing due to their absence of stage knowledge.
With four points separating 2018 champion Alexey Lukyanuk and teenage sensation Oliver Solberg, an exciting battle for outright glory is in store. Throw into the mix top international drivers such as Ivan Ares, Craig Breen, Marijan Griebel, Norbert Herczig and Niki Mayr-Melnhof, plus rising talents Erik Cais, Callum Devine, Dominik Dinkel, Emil Lindholm, Efrén Llarena, Miko Marczyk and Grégoire Munster, and it’s clear why the start of Rally Fafe Montelongo is so eagerly anticipated.
Using all-asphalt stages in the Fafe municipality, Rally Fafe Montelongo forms part of the Campeonato Portugal de Ralis Clássicos and Campeonato Norte Ralis and features a mix of fast sweeps and tight hairpin turns on smooth, undulating Tarmac roads.
The event is based in Fafe, a town with a rich rallying heritage through its links to Portugal’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Located 70 kilometres from Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport and 15 kilometres from Guimarães, one of the UEFA Euro 2004 football tournament host cities, the event’s accessible location and challenging stages have resulted in a strong uptake in entries, despite the late addition of the event on the ERC calendar, which has had to undergo several changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As well as the chase for success among the Rally2 runners, including several ERC1 Junior contenders, Rally Fafe Montelongo counts for ERC2, ERC3, ERC3 Junior and Abarth Rally Points, as well as the FIA European Rally Championship for Teams.
The itinerary consists of three stages run three times on each leg for a total of 18 stages over a competitive distance of 181.44 kilometres. The Anjos stage on October 3 is the longest at 14.13 kilometres with Várzea Cova on October 4 the shortest at 6.60 kilometres.