World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal: 1,827 kilometres from Portugal to Spain and back

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Credit: BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal

The inaugural BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal will be the third round of the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship, bringing the series back to the Iberian peninsula. As the name indicates, all but one of the five stages as well as the Prologue will take place in Portugal while the country’s Automóvel Club de Portugal serves as the race organiser.

The town of Grândola, in southwest Portugal’s Setúbal District, serves as the race’s bivouac and main hub, meaning all of the Portuguese legs will start and end there. The rally’s Prologue and Stage #1 will both take place on 3 April; Stage #1 will be split into two Selective Sections, similar to what is done in the FIA Baja Cups in contrast to the W2RC’s daily format, with the first ending in nearby Santiago do Cacém before the second takes the field back.

“It is a challenge for Grândola, but a very important event for the local economy due to the drivers and teams that will visit us, as well as a way to promote our municipality,” commented Carina Batista, the vice president of Grândola’s Municipal Council.

For Stage #3, the rally crosses the entire width of Portugal and goes through border into Spain before stopping in Badajoz. The city is located in Extremadura, an autonomous community in western Spain that currently hosts the FIA European Baja Cup’s season-opening Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura. The race returns to Grândola the following day.

In total, the timed Selective Sections will cover roughly 1,035 kilometres with the remaining 792 being liaison sections.

“It is a challenging event to organise with over 1,700 kilometres of race course and all that it entails, but with the experience and quality of our team, we can do it,” said ACP president Carlos Barbosa. “I believe that ACP will put on a great event and demonstrate, once again, that we are organisers of excellence. We will have all the best world drivers of cars, motorcycles, and quads who participated in the Dakar (Rally), as well as national drivers and teams from Europe who did not have the opportunity to go to the Dakar. It will be an event with many people, great drivers, and above all, very interesting because the route is completely different from what they have done so far.”

Revealed last June, the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid will be the W2RC’s second European round after the 2022 Andalucía Rally in southern Spain. Both Portugal and Spain bost what are considered the top domestic cross-country rally championships in the world, and each host races on both the FIA World and European Baja Cups.

UPDATE (30 March): The organisers have tweaked the race distance slightly, increasing it from the original 1,008 km in SS.

2024 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal route

StageStartFinishSelective SectionsRoad SectionsDate
PrologueGrândolaGrândola3.53 km27 km3 April
1GrândolaGrândola100.28 km55 km3 April
2GrândolaGrândola193.04 km30 km4 April
3GrândolaBadajoz387.78 km313 km5 April
4BadajozGrândola250.86 km280 km6 April
5GrândolaGrândola103.18 km40 km7 April
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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