The 15th edition reinforced the Rally de Portugal Histórico as one of the most important international events of historic regularity. The more than 80% of foreign teams that lined up at the start confirm the prestige gained (also) across borders, largely due to the selectivity and extraordinary beauty of the route designed by the Automóvel Club de Portugal. In a race marked by a forgotten extreme, a French duo Christophe Baillet / Pierre Colliard, in a Porsche 911 SC, debuted in the highest place on the podium, while Rodrigo Teixeira / João Azeiteiro, in a BMW E30 325i, were the best Portuguese, in the fifth position.
Sportingly, the defense was the dominant focus of the competition. Five different commanders and eight changes of leader give an idea of how emotion was a constant throughout the 43 selective special events disputed, with the exit for a final stage, the first two classified took off… tied!
But, in the end, and having completed more than 1,850 km on the chronometer, Christophe Baillet, sailed by Pierre Colliard, in a Porsche 911 SC, ensured the victory, imposing himself on the Belgian Yves Deflandre (accompanied by Jennifer Hugo) and his compatriot Philippe Fuchey (navigated by Christophe Hayez), who, even if they were unable to repeat the triumphs of 2016/2017 and 2019, respectively, never gave up and sold face to defeat.
Inscribing his name for the first time on the gold album of the race (he won several editions of the Tour of Historic Corsica), Baillet still experienced some unpleasantness with his Porsche’s forward box, but from the moment he took off de Deflandre in the first stages of the last stage, he only had to manage the pace, concentration and mechanics of the car, especially in the final night round through the treacherous sections of Sintra, to become the 10th different winner of the Rally de Portugal Histórico.
In a race where the Porsche 911 proved, once again, to be the car to beat, reaching the first three places, the Rodrigo Teixeira / João Azeiteiro race was also highlighted, which conquered the place of the best Portuguese. The national duo was the first leader of the rally, but the devilish pace of the top three and even the Renault 11 Turbo of the Spanish primary duo, Alvaro Ochagavias / Manuel Macho, will not turn off the dream of victory in reality, as the previous one managed to do. João Mexia in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and João Vieira Borges in 2018.
With a tough and selective course, but of undeniable beauty (passing through emblematic places such as Campelo, Lousã, Mortágua, Caramulo, Préstimo, Armamar, Freita, Oliveira de Hospital, Arganil, Montealto, Montejunto and Sintra), 44 of the 58 teams that they left and managed to reach the end of the race, which once again concentrated all the emotions of the arrival on the privileged stage of the Casino Estoril Gardens, framed by the colors of many fans who insisted on being present.
The XV edition of the Historic Portugal Rally closed with a “golden key”, already today, with a slalom event at the Estoril Autodrome (inserted in the “Estoril Classis 2021”), in yet another revivalist moment and load of nostalgia.