55th Azores Rallye - 06-08/05/2021
Headquarters: Pavilhão do Mar – Portas do Mar, Ponta Delgada
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 7 (2013-2019)
Stage distance: 201.94kms
Liaison distance: 443.10kms
Total distance: 645.04kms
Free Practice (for priority drivers): TBA (Lagoa, 3.12kms)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): TBA (Lagoa, 3.12kms)
Shakedown (for all drivers): TBA (Lagoa, 3.12kms)
The rally in 100 words: Based on the mid-Atlantic Ocean archipelago’s largest island of São Miguel, the rally turns 55 in 2021 and remains one of the most spectacular events on the international calendar. Stages criss-cross breath-taking scenery and lush countryside and are characterised by their sandy surface and narrow and undulating nature. And because the timed tests are often no wider than the width of a car, there is simply no margin for error, particularly on the Sete Cidades test along the rim of a volcanic crater lake. Changeable weather is also a factor with conditions switching from sunshine to showers and fog patches.
Event eligibility: ERC, ERC2, ERC3, Teams, Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT, ERC-MICHELIN Talent Performer
What’s new for 2021? Postponed from 2020, the 55th Azores Rallye essentially runs to an all-new format with the traditional forestry stages on the east of São Miguel now running on the opening leg rather than the closing leg. It means the westerly stages now take place on the final day with the Sete Cidades volcano stage deciding the outcome of the ERC season opener. The event also conforms to the FIA’s requirement to contain events within a four-day window. As a result, the traditional Thursday afternoon stages disappear with all the stage action contained over two days. COVID-19 restrictions mean the City Show on Ponta Delgada’s sea front won’t run this year.
2019: Łukasz Habaj/Daniel Dymurski (Škoda Fabia R5)
2018: Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Arnautov (Ford Fiesta R5)
2017: Bruno Magalhães/Hugo Magalhães (Škoda Fabia R5)
2016: Ricardo Moura/António Costa (Ford Fiesta R5)
2015: Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Peugeot 208 T16)
1: When it comes to Azores Rallye success look no further than Fernando Peres, the event’s record-holding seven-time winner.
2: While Ricardo Moura has multiple Azorean championship titles to his name, his Azores Rallye triumph in 2016 was his first on his home round of the ERC.
3: Other winners include WRC stars past and present, such as Craig Breen, Kris Meeke, Andreas Mikkelsen, Juha Kankkunen, Markko Märtin and Bruno Thiry.
4: The Azores archipelago is located roughly equidistant between Lisbon and New York and is made up of nine islands. The fertile soil is perfect for a variety of crops and grazing for livestock.
5: A typical Azorean meal is cozido das fumas stew, cooked in the ground using one pot only.