Thursday, May 23, 2024

How to watch WRC’s Rally Portugal: schedule, line-up and more

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The 2024 WRC season is as open as it comes with four different winners in as many rounds to commence the campaign.

Championship leader Thierry Neuville kicked things off with victory in the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, before Esapekka Lappi won in Sweden, Kalle Rovanpera in Kenya and finally Sebastien Ogier in Croatia.

But Rovanpera and Ogier are only contesting a part-time campaign in 2024, which leaves Neuville and Elfyn Evans at the top of the championship.

Although he is yet to win, Evans has so far been rewarded for his consistency as he’s had a top-four finish in each rally, including three podiums.

But Evans left the last round in Croatia extremely frustrated, as the points structure that is new for 2024 meant he scored as many points for finishing second as Neuville did in third.

Under the current structure, championship points are awarded at the end of both Saturday and Sunday. A sliding scale of 18-15-13-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 is given on Saturday, with 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 then awarded on Sunday while the Power Stage remains 5-4-3-2-1.

In Croatia, Neuville topped the Saturday standings but finished seventh on Sunday with no points in the Power Stage. Evans was second on the first day before scoring four points on Sunday.

Photo by: Toyota Racing

It meant Evans was unable to cut his six-point championship deficit to Neuville despite the Toyota driver finishing ahead of his Hyundai rival overall.

Although Adrien Fourmaux finished 17th overall, he left Croatia with 13 points for finishing fifth on Saturday and winning the Power Stage, meaning the M-Sport driver remains third in the championship but 27 points behind Neuville.

So, the early signs show that it will be a straight-up fight between Neuville and Evans for WRC glory in 2024.

WRC2 should also excite fans in Portugal with the return of five-time rally winner Kris Meeke, who last contested the category at this event in 2023.

The WRC2 championship picture is also wide open as Yohan Rossel and Oliver Solberg are tied at the top with Nikolay Gryazin just three points behind and all title contenders will be present in Portugal.

When is Rally Portugal?

Date: 9-12 May

Start time: 5pm on Thursday 9 May 2024

The 2024 Rally Portugal starts on Thursday 9 May at 5pm in the United Kingdom and local time. That is for the ceremonial start though, so the first official stage does not begin until 7:05pm that night.

Before stage one, there is also shakedown at 8am on Thursday, which gives drivers the chance to test various car set-ups ahead of the weekend.

How can I watch the WRC?

TNT Sports has held the WRC broadcasting rights since 2014, so it will live televise every round of the 2024 season.

This means UK residents must hold a subscription to watch WRC and TNT is available at £20 per month for a deal that includes all four sport channels, Eurosport 1 and 2 and Discovery+. Discovery+ is TNT’s live streaming platform meaning the WRC can be watched via a mobile or tablet device, as well as a console.

The WRC is also available via Rally.tv, which broadcasts the European Rally Championship and World Rallycross Championship as well. Rally.tv has two deals for new customers: an annual pass for £119.99 or a monthly pass for £12.99.

How can I watch Rally Portugal?

Coverage for Rally Portugal will begin this Thursday at 8am with TNT Sports Extra 1 broadcasting shakedown, before the ceremonial start and opening stage that evening.

TNT Sports’ Friday coverage will commence at 7:45am with early starts on Saturday and Sunday as well. However, due to the rally’s schedule, TNT Sports will be on and off with its coverage depending on the start time for each stage. For example, one programme will broadcast stages two to five in the morning with the next doing six to eight after lunch.

The same format will be followed by Rally.tv, which will also live broadcast every stage plus the shakedown and ceremonial start.

When can I watch Rally Portugal highlights?

Red Bull TV will run a one-hour programme at 10pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night broadcasting highlights of each day at Rally Portugal. TNT Sports will do something similar, but instead run a 30-minute highlight package at various times: 11pm on Friday, 5:30am on Sunday and 12am on Monday.

ITV4 is also broadcasting a one-hour highlights programme and it will air on Tuesday 14 May at 8pm.

Autosport also shows daily highlights, while the official WRC platforms will upload a short package soon after the running for each day has finished.

What is the route for Rally Portugal?

Rally Portugal consists of 22 special stages – the most on the calendar – covering a total competitive distance of 209.43 miles on a gravel surface. A super special stage kicks off proceedings on Thursday evening, where drivers will tackle just 1.83 miles of Figueira da Foz which is a coastal city in central Portugal.

An early start commences the action on Friday with drivers tackling 11.28 miles of Mortagua from 8:05am, before heading south to Lousa for 7.63 miles of the town. The rally then heads east for 8.7 miles of Gois before 11.63 miles of Arganil finishes the morning.

Those stages are run again on Friday afternoon, but it instead starts with Lousa before going to Gois, Arganil and finally Mortagua. There is another early start on Saturday, which features two identical loops of eight stages beginning at 8:05am.

It starts with 5.74 miles of Felgueiras – 107.44 miles north of Mortagua – before heading east for 5.4 miles of Montim. Two big stages then finish the morning with 23.14 miles of Amarante and 10 miles of Pardes before that route is repeated on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday starts at 7:05am with 12.37 miles of Cabeceiras de Basto before 6.95 miles of Fafe, while drivers then finish the morning with another run of Cabeceiras de Basto. Rally Portugal finishes with its Power Stage, which is another 6.95 miles run of Fafe on Sunday afternoon.

Rally1 entry list for Rally Portugal

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