This year, Volkswagen Motorsport will take part in the “Fafe Rally Sprint” for the first time. More than 100,000 spectators are expected at the show event in northern Portugal on Saturday 6th April 2013. Lining up in Fafe: the winners of the rallies in Sweden and Mexico, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (F/F), and, for the first time in the Polo R WRC, Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula (N/FIN). Beginning with the Rally Portugal, the Nordic duo will compete for Volkswagen Motorsport in the third Polo R WRC at all the remaining rounds of this season’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
The 6.34-kilometre section of the iconic Lameirinha stage no longer officially forms part of the Rally Portugal. Just as it did last year, however, it will herald the start of the rally week. “We are really looking forward to lining up in Fafe for the first time,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Sébastien and Julien will be in close contact with thousands of Portuguese fans at the ‘Rally Sprint’, and will be out to put on a good show for them. The event also offers Andreas and Mikko the opportunity to test the Polo R WRC under competitive conditions for the first time, and to familiarise themselves with the atmosphere before they make their WRC debut in the Polo R WRC the following week.”
The crowds in Fafe are in for a spectacular show: the teams must battle their way through two qualifying rounds on the way to the final. The fastest time in the final wins the “Fafe Rally Sprint”. Another extremely popular feature with the fans is the competition to see who can remain airborne for the longest over one of the most challenging jumps in rallying. The record, which was set by Armin Schwarz in a Škoda Octavia WRC in 2000, currently stands at 73.5 metres.
As well as Volkswagen, a number of other WRC teams have also confirmed that they will be competing at the cult event. The Rally Portugal gets underway with qualifying on Thursday 11th April 2013 and ends with the podium ceremony at Algarve Stadium between the cities of Faro and Loulé.