Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras 2021 - 01-03/10/2021
Starts: 19h00, Friday October 1, Câmara Municipal Fafe
Finishes: 16h50, Sunday October 3, City Hall, Fafe
Headquarters: Pavilhão Multiusos – Rua Ten. Cor. Melo Antunes, 32 – Parque da Cidade – Fafe
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): New to ERC for 2021
Stage distance: 197.08 kilometres
Liaison distance: 490.74 kilometres
Total distance: 687.82 kilometres
Free Practice (for priority drivers): 13h30-15h30, Friday October 1, Monte, Fafe (3.25 kilometres)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 16h00, Friday October 1, Monte, Fafe (3.25 kilometres)
Shakedown (for all drivers): 17h00-19h00, Friday October 1, Monte, Fafe (3.25 kilometres)
The rally in 100 words: While the ERC visited the rally-mad town of Fafe for the asphalt-based Rally Fafe Montelongo last season, this will be the first time that the long-standing, all-gravel Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras has been part of the European schedule. A mainstay of the Portuguese championship, the highlight of the event is undoubtedly the Lameirinha stage complete with the iconic Pedra Sentada jump, which has been part of rallying folklore for decades. The inclusion of St.a Quitéria – Felgueiras and the mythical Seixoso test in the Felgueiras municipality resulted in the inclusion of Felgueiras in the event title two years ago.
Event eligibility: ERC1, ERC2, ERC3, European Rally Championship for Teams. ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives available
What’s new for 2021? Traditionally held in early spring, the move to September was the result of COVID-19 restrictions in place in Portugal earlier this year. Having added the Felgueiras municipality to the route in 2020, the 34th edition in 2021 includes stages in Vieira do Minho and Boticas.
The route in short:
Friday October 1: After the completion of reconnaissance during the morning, the Qualifying Stage follows Free Practice from 16h00 local time with the ERC priority drivers tackling the Monte test, a 3.25-kilometre charge that provides an early taste of the challenge in store. The start order selection is scheduled for 18h00 in the Pavilhão Multiusos located within Fafe’s Parque da Cidade.
Saturday October 2: The first leg of Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras takes crews northeast of the event’s host town and is big on speed with Sra da Fé / Anjos and Agra / Zebral both featuring “very fast parts”, according to three-time event winner Bruno Magalhães. They follow the day-opening Luilhas test (from 09h00 local time) and precede Boticas, with Sra da Fé / Anjos the rally’s longest at 18.06 kilometres and shown live on Facebook and YouTube. Following service at the Praça das Comunidades in Fafe, the four stages are repeated in the afternoon with the day-closing rerun of Boticas – an all-new stage – due to get underway at 17h50. The eight stages cover a competitive distance of 113.42 kilometres.
Sunday October 3: Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras 2021 concludes with eight stages run over two loops of four totalling 83.66 kilometres. Centred around Fafe, the action is set to begin with Seixoso from 09h25 followed by Sta Quitéria, another narrower stage. Sta Quitéria ran to exactly the same format as part of the Vodafone Rally de Portugal route in May, albeit under the name of Falgueiras. The following Montim stage runs in an opposite direction to when it was used on Portugal’s world championship counter earlier this year. Measuring 13.99 kilometres in length, the legendary Lameirinha stage brings the morning and afternoon loops to a close with live coverage on Facebookand YouTube at 11h05 and 15h00 respectively. Titled Fafe on Rally de Portugal, Lameirinha is a big part of rallying folklore and comes complete with the famous Pedra Sentada jump that’s tackled after a short asphalt section.
2020: Armindo Araújo/Luís Ramalho (Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo)*
2019: Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 R5)*
2018: Ricardo Moura/António Costa (Ford Fiesta R5)*
2017: Pedro Meireles/Mário Castro (Škoda Fabia R5)*
2016: José Pedro Fontes/Inês Ponte (Citroën DS3 R5)*
1: Rallying is such a big deal in Fafe that the town houses its own museum celebrating the sport’s long-standing link to the region, the Museu do Rali.
2: And Lameirinha – complete with the iconic Pedra Sentada jump – is the stage that’s intrinsically linked to Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras.
3: As well as winning the Azores Rallye more times than any of his rivals, Fernando Peres holds the record for the most victories on what is now Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras with six wins. Bruno Magalhães and Carlos Bica are equal second on the list having both triumphed on three occasions.
4: Fafe isn’t just home to mainland Portugal’s round of the ERC, it’s also home to leading co-driver Hugo Magalhães, who received special recognition last October for his achievements in rallying and the ambassadorial role he performs for Fafe.
5: Mário Castro was at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R2T when the ERC visited Fafe last October for Rally Fafe Montelongo. The local resident will return to co-driving duty when Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras takes place, linking up with Pedro Meireles for the national section of the event.