Tomorrow starts the Rallye de Portugal 1996. As you may know this year it is not included in the WRC (along with Monte Carlo, Corsega and RAC). It counts for the F2 championship, which was apparentely made to please Renault, which then didn't enter it. In fact nobody cares about that championship.
I think that when the this scheme of rotation of rallies in the championship was invented nobody expected that it would last until 1996. I suppose that is why the year out for most of the most characteristic rallies is 1996.
So this year, the rally is somewhat weak in teams. There are some factory teams: Portuguese Renault, Portuguese Peugeot, Skoda and Seat in F2.
Real cars (4WD) are few, but there are some. Rui Madeira, 1995 world champion in group N is the only priority A driver in the rally and so will start with number 1. He has a Toyota Celica entered by team Grifone. He will also enter other rallies of the championship.
Team Grifone has entered another 2 cars for F. Loix and "Jigger". Ford Motorsport has entered Mokkonen in an Escort. Another Escort is driven by Fernando Peres, portuguese champion. But Fernando Peres will not risk anything, since he is trying to win the championship again, and the coefficient of this rally in the national championship is too high, so drivers can't afford to not terminate it.
There are also other Portuguese drivers that are not competing on the championship, and so they don't have this problem and in fact they only care for a very good result. These are Jorge Bica (Subaru Legacy), Jose' Miguel (Ford Escort RS) and maybe also Carlos Carvalho (Mitsubishi Galant).
There is a web page for the Rally made by the Portuguese main motorsport newspaper (Autosport). The link is in my web page.
Last year I also posted results during the rally, but I won't do that this time (just final results). The rally is less interesting for foreigners and there is a a mailing list which you can subscribe to receive the results after each stage (so they say).
You can subscribe using the web page or sendiga a mail message to: Majordomo@siii.pt with one line: subscribe rallye-info <mail-address>
BTW, Portuguese TV will make a extensive coverage. I saw some days ago a great video by them, including images from inside the cars (you could hear the navigator reading the notes) and outside the cars. They used The Cure "A Forest" for soundtrack. Just perfect. The crashes included were also "interesting". It was a little of misleading advertising since the cars and drivers featured will not be here this year.
If you don't see anything about the rally in the TV complain to Bernie Ecclestone. One of his enterprises has the monopoly of distribution of rally images for TV use, and by a strange coincidence it makes a very bad job of that.
-- http://www.mat.uc.pt/~rps/rally_95/ an ex-tiffoso until the end of 1997
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