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Tue 22 Mar 2022

Azores countdown: rally route

Less than two weeks after the season opener, the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) is back in action for the Azores Rallye (25 - 27 March).

This time, we’re heading to the mid-Atlantic Ocean archipelago’s largest island of São Miguel for what promises to be one of the most exhilarating rallies on the calendar. 

Now in its 56th year, the Azores Rallye is a rally like no other. Stages criss-cross breathtaking scenery, lush countryside and are characterised by their sandy surface and narrow undulating nature. Did we mention volcanos?

Based out of the Azores capital Ponta Delgada, Friday afternoon begins with Free Practice, followed by the Qualifying Stage from 1518hrs. ERC priority drivers will tackle the 4.37km warm-up blast against the clock, with start order selection taking place at 1800hrs. 

The competitive action gets underway on Saturday morning with three stages that journey east of the island.

First up is Coroa da Mata (11.4km) followed by Graminhais, which is the longest stage of the rally at 24.03km. Tronqueira (21.99km) rounds off the loop, which is then repeated once more in the afternoon. 

A visit to the Grupo Marques (4.1km) two-by-two superspecial test just north of Ponta Delgada brings the day to a close.

Seven stages - three of which are driven twice - make up Sunday’s finale. 

It starts with Ribeira Grande (9.57km), which is followed by a short sprint through Feteiras (7.46km). Next up is the iconic Sete Cidades (24.01km) volcano stage, while a single trip back to Grupo Marques closes the morning loop. 

The second passage of Sete Cidades forms the bonus points-paying Power Stage. It winds along the rim of a volcanic crater lake, and because the road is barely more than a car's width in places, there is simply no margin for error! 

The 14 stages cover 205.12km in a total route of 583.42km.

  • Full coverage from the Azores Rally will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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