Vodafone Rally De Portugal 2024 Preview: Rally1

May 9, 2024Joe Moore

The 2024 World Rally Championship season continues this weekend with Vodafone Rally De Portugal. 

Championship Rundown

Thierry Neuville still holds the drivers’ championship lead heading into the fifth round of the season. Neuville has held the championship lead since his win in Rallye Monte-Carlo to kick off the season. The Belgian holds a 6-point lead over last year’s championship runner-up Elfyn Evans heading into Vodafone Rally De Portugal. Adrien Fourmaux sits third in the championship 27 points behind Neuville and 21 points behind Evans. Ott Tänak is fourth in the championship, 6 points behind Fourmaux. Sebastien Ogier and Takamoto Katsuta round out the top five in the championship, with both sitting 8 points behind Tänak. 

Team Rundowns 

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Toyota currently leads the manufacturers’ championship heading into the fifth round of the season. The team holds a 7-point lead over Hyundai. The Japanese Manufacturer heads into Portugal looking to maintain their momentum from the previous two events. Historically Toyota has done good at the event since returning to the WRC in 2017. Winning the event four times since 2017 (the event was not run in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Toyota will roster a four-car team for the first time this season. With full-timers, Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta being joined by five-time Rally Portugal winner Sebastien Ogier and reigning Rally Portugal winner Kalle Rovanperä. The team has elected for Katsuta to not score points this weekend. 

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT

Hyundai sits second in the manufacturers’ championship after a strong start to the season with wins at both the Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden. Since Sweden, the team only has one podium. This was achieved by Thierry Neuville last time out in Croatia. The Korean manufacturer will run a three-car team as per usual this weekend. With regulars Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak being joined by Dani Sordo for the first time this season. Ott Tänak who has had a rough start to the season is hoping to put himself back in the championship picture this weekend. The Estonian won the event back in 2019 on the way to winning his first and only world championship. 

M-Sport Ford WRT

M-Sport Ford has surprised many to start the year. As many thought the team wouldn’t be able to achieve any podiums this season. A rejuvenated Adrien Fourmuax has proven them wrong. As the Frenchman has finished on the podium twice so far this season. Fourmaux will head into this weekend looking to take home another podium. On the flip side, Grégoire Munster has had a rough start to the season. Only achieving a handful of top five stage times through this point. 

What To Expect From Vodafone Rally De Portugal

Drivers will contest a total of 337.04 km across 22 special stages. 

Day One 

The first day of the event will see drivers take on a 2.94 km SuperSpecial stage to kick off the event. Nothing much should come from this stage, at most only a couple of seconds are lost. 

Day Two

The second day of Vodafone Rally De Portugal is where the action truly gets underway. As drivers will contest 126.90 km across eight stages. Thierry Neuville will get road sweeping honours on the day unless he has an issue before or during the day. The day’s longest stage will be the 18.72 km Agranil stage. While the shortest is the 12.28 km Lousã stage. Drivers may opt to drive more on the side of caution. As the day doesn’t feature a midday service. 

Day Three

The third day of the event is also the longest, as drivers will contest 145.02 km across another eight stages. The third day’s longest stage is the monster 37.24 km Amarante stage which will push drivers to their limits. While the shortest stage is the 8.69 km Montim stage. The day will feature a single 44-minute service between the two loops. 

Day Four

The fourth and final day of Vodafone Rally De Portugal will see drivers contest 62.18 km across 4 stages. The longest of these stages is the 19.91 km Cabeceiras de Basto stage. While the shortest is the famed 11.18 Fafe stage, which will serve as the Wolf Powerstage.