Pedro Almeida, manager for the Vodafone Rally of Portugal 2017, confirmed in Salou that their cherished plans for the time honoured world championship rally to start in the town of Arganil, then use stages in the popular hills behind the town, cannot continue.
Almeida explained: “We will not be able to put Arganil in the map for 2017. We considered that situation but it is not possible.
“It would mean the total distance of the rally would be over 2000km in total and need almost four days to do it, impossible under the current regulations. It will require a lot of waivers from the FIA to do it in the future! It is a dream too far.
“There is another problem. We are very well supported by the municipalities of the north of the country. You cannot go down to Arganil just because of Arganil, you need an entire section there. Arganil can provide three stages, 60-80km of stage, and to put this into the rally you must cut out something from the remainder of the route in the north.”
Also, there is a servicing problem.
“Nowadays we have a very concentrated rally. The teams love the idea of returning at midday to service, to keep always the same service park, and this would be impossible with Arganil. So there are lots of things that we must consider.
“Arganil is very interested on this subject. ACP (national federation) would like to take the rally to Arganil as well, but I don’t think with the current regulations it is very easy.”
One possible solution could be to run a special event in Arganil the weekend before the WRC event.
“We are considering that possibility. This is one of the reasons we are contacting the manufacturers because we would need their co-operation. Without their cars we cannot do it.
“It was a success when we did it in Fafe. Maybe one day we could run an Arganil Rallysprint. Who knows, it will be a way of keeping the Arganil legend alive.”
- Martin Holmes