• Portugal gets record WRC entries

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    A total of 65 cars will take part in the Vodafone Rally de Portugal on May 18-21, the biggest field so far in this season’s World Rally Championship (WRC).

    This year’s 50th anniversary running of the gravel-surface WRC classic boasts an impressive list of entries across four FIA Championship categories – with two WRC manufacturers represented at full strength for the first time.

    Toyota is making its most ambitious entry since returning to the race series and will be competing with three Yaris WRCs, as rising star Esapekka Lappi joins Juho Hänninen and Jari-Matti Latvala, winner of Rally Sweden.

    For its part, Citroën will enter four C3 WRCs instead of the usual three, for Mexico winner Kris Meeke, Craig Breen, Stéphane Lefebvre and Khalid Al Qassimi.

    M-Sport will also enter four cars. Defending world champion Sébastien Ogier, winner of the first round of the year, will be joined by Ott Tänak, Elfyn Evans and Mads Østberg.

    Finally, Hyundai will be entering its usual line-up of Thierry Neuville (winner in France and Argentina), Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo.

    Also competing in pre-2017 WRC cars are WRC Trophy contenders Martin Prokop (Ford), Valeriy Gorban (Mini) and Jean-Michel Raoux (Citroën) making a total of 17 WRC cars on the list.

    Portugal is the first mandatory event in WRC 2 and 20 registered drivers will be in action. Skoda Fabia R5 drivers Andreas Mikkelsen and Pontus Tidemand head the support category entry list, which also features Eric Camilli and Teemu Suninen in M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5s. Last year’s Junior WRC winner Simone Tempestini and 2015 Junior title winner Quentin Gilbert will also compete.

    The rally also features six entries in the two-wheel-drive WRC 3 championship.

    THE TIMES/WRC.COM

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