09 outubro 2021

Competitiveness was the main language for the XV Rally de Portugal Histórico. Five different commanders and eight changes of team leaders passed the idea of how the spirit of competition was always alive throughout the 43 selective special stages. Emotions ran the highest during the final stage, for which the top two drivers were tied.

However, after more than 1850 km of racing, it was Christophe Baillet, with Pierre Colliard as a co-pilot, in a Porsche 911 SC, who won, beating Belgium's Yves Deflandre (accompanied by Jennifer Hugo) and his compatriot Philippe Fuchey (navigated by Christophe Hayez). The Belgian team were unable to repeat their 2016/2017 triumphs and 2019 respectively, but never gave up and paid dearly for their defeat.

Inscribing his name for the first time in the race’s golden album, Baillet still experienced some problems with the gearbox of his Porsche. However, from the moment he distanced himself fom Deflandre in the first specials of the last stage, he only had to manage the pace, the concentration and the mechanics of his car – especially in the final night round through the treacherous sections of Sintra –, to become the 10th winner of the Rally de Portugal Histórico.

In a race where the Porsche 911 proved, once more, to be the ultimate model, reaching the first three places, the highlight also goes to Rodrigo Teixeira/João Azeiteiro, who conquered the highest result among Portuguese drivers. The national duo spent a considerable amount of time in first place, but the endowed pace of the first three pilots – and even of the Spanish duo, Alvaro Ochagavias/Manuel Machado –, did not allow them to finish victoriously, just like João Mexia had managed to do in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and João Vieira Borges in 2018.

With a hard and selective course, of undeniable beauty notheless, 44 of the 58 teams managed to reach the race’s end at the iconic stages of the Casino Estoril gardens, composed by the many fans who were intentionally present at the festive dawn.

The XV edition of the Rally de Portugal Histórico closed with a "golden key", during the last day, with some competitors completing, out of classification, a Slalom race at the Estoril Racetrack (part of the "Estoril Classis 2021"), in another revivalist and nostalgic moment of the Rally de Portugal.

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