WRC debut for Villas-Boas likely to be a one-off, Dakar return planned

Former Premier League manager and Europa League winner Andre Villas-Boas says his maiden appearance in the World Rally Championship in next week’s Rally Portugal will also be his last.

WRC debut for Villas-Boas likely to be a one-off, Dakar return planned

The one-time Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager, who left his most recent post at Marseille in February, has entered the event’s WRC3 category in a Citroen Racing C3 in a bid to heighten awareness of the various charities he supports.

The Portuguese 43-year-old tackled last month’s Rali Vieira do Minho with co-driver Goncalo Magalhaes as a precursor to his home round of the WRC, finishing tenth overall and ninth in the R5 class.

But when asked by Autosport if he envisaged his outing on the three-day gravel event leading to more WRC outings in future, Villas-Boas reiterated that rally raid is what excites him the most.

Villas-Boas started the 2018 Dakar Rally, following in the footsteps of his uncle Pedro Villas-Boas - who made three appearances between 1982 and 1984.

“I don’t think I’ll do more rallies because I like rally raid more – there’s more contact with nature,” Villas-Boas told Autosport.

“The whole experience is different, there is an acceptance of unpredictability and time loss in rally raid.

“Secondly, rallying is very, very expensive. I had no idea of the amount of money that is needed!

“OK, I had ideas of the Dakar – which is expensive as well – but it is eleven days at something like five hundred kilometres each day, so you get a little bit more [value] from the package.”

Villas-Boas is currently in discussions with a number of football federations that could land him a job with a national team after this summer’s European Football Championships are finished.

Andre Villas-Boas, 2021 Rali Vieira do Minho

Andre Villas-Boas, 2021 Rali Vieira do Minho

Photo by: AIFA

But he continues to have one eye on rally raids and, in particular, the Dakar - despite being hospitalised after an accident on stage four in 2018 that left him with back pain.

“After the Dakar, I took part in the Rally of Morocco and finished sixth and twelfth at the Merzouga Rally and a few other rally raids in Portugal where I finished in the top ten,” he recalled.

“It is very different because you are allowed a mistake. If you lose one minute, ten minutes, an hour, there is a tolerance for mistakes, an acceptance, but in the WRC it is impossible as it is all about seconds.

“So, I think this will be a one-off.

“The Dakar? No. I have more experience of rally raid, it is more continuous and I want to get back to the Dakar because I want to finish one. I dropped out on the fourth stage in Peru, so I want to go back to Dakar, and experience the sensation of finishing it.”

Villas-Boas confirmed that a return to the Dakar would be in a side-by-side vehicle and not in a pick-up similar to the one he drove on his debut.

“I was not fully prepared that time,” he admits.

“If I do Dakar again it would be in a SSV – I think so. They are [not] that easy to drive but you get the same excitement for half or more the cost.”

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