Belgians win Historical Rally of Portugal

Yves Deflandre and Jennifer Hugo (Porsche 911) won, this Saturday, the XVII Historical Rally of Portugal, after 2067 kilometers of route, which started last Tuesday. It was the Belgian duo’s fourth victory in Portugal, a record in the ACP race, considered one of the best regular rallies in Europe.

Luís Cavaco and João Serôdio (Ford Escort RS) put their national colors on the podium in Lisbon, with 2nd place, ahead of another Belgian team, Johnny Delhez and Pyck Aswin (Ford Escort). The last stage included the popular Sintra ‘night’, with thousands of spectators.

“It’s probably the most beautiful rally in the world.” Yves Deflandre’s words at Parque Eduardo VII, in Lisbon, described the appeal of the Historic Portugal Rally. There were four stages, 43 regular special stages, and 2067.6 kilometers, including stages and connections. The 17th edition of the ACP race tested the endurance of machines and drivers, with 81 teams taking on the challenge of one of the most renowned rallies of its kind in Europe. Starting and finishing in Lisbon, the race passed through notable locations in different regions of the country and ended with a historic record for Deflandre and navigator Jennifer Hugo, who took their Porsche 911 to their fourth victory in the event, surpassing the record they shared with the Portuguese João Mexia Leitão and Nuno Sales Machado.

The Belgian duo took the lead in the first stage, in Castelo de Bode, and then only lost control of operations when mechanical problems delayed the Porsche, originally built in 1976. At that stage, in Wednesday’s stage, compatriots Johnny Delhez and Pyck Aswin took the lead, with the Ford Escort decorated in Rothmans colors, reminiscent of Ari Vatanen’s world title in 1981. Spaniards Marcos Fernández and Adolfo González also came to lead, with the Peugeot 205 GTi, but Deflandre and Hugo quickly returned to the lead once the German car was repaired. From then on, the Belgian Porsche entered into a private duel with another 911, that of Frenchman Christophe Berteloot, driven by Baptiste Gengoux, but this was delayed in the final phase of the rally, due to mechanical problems.

Those who took advantage were the Portuguese team Luís Cavaco and João Serôdio, always growing with the Ford Escort RS, which entered Parque Eduardo VII, in the early hours of this Saturday morning, in 2nd place overall, 76.5 points behind the winners. Cavaco and Serôdio reached the podium accompanied by two Belgian duos, as Delhez and Aswin finished in 3rd place.

Paulo Marques and João Martins were close to the podium, taking the 1969 BMW 1600 to 4th place overall, with Spaniards Joaquim Muntada and Jan Rosa completing the top 5, with the Porsche 911 SC. In Category C, where the oldest cars were in the race, victory went to Lithuanians Karolis Raisys and Ovidius Meilunas, with a 1961 Jaguar Mk2, just ahead of the 1964 Volvo Amazon from Frenchmen Dominique Bairelle and Georges Denuziere. True time machines, which spread charm over more than 2,000 kilometers along national roads.

Sintra revived emotions

The now usual passage through the ‘night’ of Sintra, which preceded the arrival in Lisbon, once again attracted thousands of spectators to the sections that made history in the Rally de Portugal. The organization created a new Spectacle Zone, at the intersection of Convento dos Capuchos, where fans gathered to watch the caravan pass. A total of 54 competitors, from the 81 teams at the start, finished the race classified, proving the toughness and specificity of the Historic Portugal Rally.


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