The leading drivers in the World Rally Championship will drive a superspecial stage in Porto on the Sunday before Rally Portugal to promote the event in the north of the country.
Traditionally, the Rally of Portugal was always based in the north, around the city of Porto, using iconic stages like Arganil and Fafe. But when the event returned to the series in 2007, having been dropped in 2001, it was the Algarve which became the centre of Portugal's world rally round.
"It was obvious that we should do something in Porto," said Automovel Club de Portugal's president Carlos Barbosa at today's launch of the Porto Roadshow. "If the nature of modern rallying led us to move the event to the Algarve, we simply could not forget the support that we always received in the north of Portugal - not only from the local authorities, but also from the fans who have been so enthusiastic on the stages.
"With the freedom to choose a different location to organise a promotional event, we had no hesitation in selecting Porto, as we know it will be very well received by the local fans - particularly with so many famous drivers attending the event."
The Porto Roadshow will be held on May 23. The area surrounding City Hall will be transformed for the day, into a 950-metre superspecial stage with jumps, chicanes, donut and drifting areas. The show will start with an autograph session before practice starts at 1530 (local time). From 1700, and with just one driver on the track, the event itself will begin and will be covered by a one-hour live transmission on Portugual's RTP Channel 1.
Six-time world champion Sebastien Loeb will lead the drivers away in his Citroen C4 WRC, with Ford's Mikko Hirvonen in close attendance. The event will also offer the rallying public a first glimpse of the five Pirelli Star Drivers who will tackle the test in their Mitsubishi lancer Evo Xs.