After an emphatic first win in the Yaris WRC for Ott Tänak on Rally Argentina, Toyota Gazoo Racing return to Europe this week looking to sustain the momentum of success in Portugal. Tänak, Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi are all confident of carrying forward the progress made with the car in South America
Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen said: “I am feeling really confident that we can have another strong performance in Portugal, because the conditions there are very similar to Argentina. They are both fast rallies, but in Portugal I would say there is a bit more room to play with. Normally it should be not as challenging, but of course it is always challenging when you are trying to fight for the win. Still, I am sure we can have another good rally.”
Rally Portugal (17 to 20 May), the sixth round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship, is based in the north of the country with a service park in Matosinhos, near the city of Porto. The event is run on technical roads with a soft and sandy gravel surface.
Grip can be hard to find for the drivers running first on the road and making the opening pass on each stage; by the second pass, deep ruts and exposed rocks can present a hazard.
The rally will get underway on Thursday evening with a ceremonial start at Guimarães Castle, followed by a super special stage on the Lousada rallycross circuit. On Friday there will be two loops of three stages to the north, near the Spanish border, before two runs of a street stage in Porto to close the day. Saturday’s action takes place in the Cabreira Mountains and on Sunday the rally will conclude with five stages in the Fafe region, including the famous Fafe test itself as the Power Stage.