Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen will take part in the Fafe Rally Sprint on Saturday April 6, it has been confirmed.
The event serves as a warm-up for Rally de Portugal and will give both drivers' extra time in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC ahead of the fourth round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, which runs from April 11-14.
More than 100,000 spectators are expected at the show event in northern Portugal and just like it did in 2012 it will herald the start of the rally week.
“We are really looking forward to lining up in Fafe for the first time,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Sebastien and [co-driver] Julien [Ingrassia] will be in close contact with thousands of Portuguese fans at the 'Rally Sprint', and will be out to put on a good show for them.
“The event also offers Andreas and [his co-driver] Mikko [Markkula] the opportunity to test the Polo R WRC under competitive conditions for the first time, and to familiarise themselves with the atmosphere before they make their WRC debut in the Polo R WRC the following week.”
The Fafe Rally Sprint uses a 6.34-kilometre section of the iconic Lameirinha stage that is no longer officially part of the Rally de Portugal following its move south to its base in the Algarve in 2005. Drivers and teams will battle their way through two qualifying rounds on the way to the final, with the fastest time in the final deciding the overall winner.
Meanwhile another extremely popular feature of the event is the competition to see who can remain airborne for the longest over one of the most challenging jumps in rallying. The record, which was set by Armin Schwarz in a Skoda Octavia WRC in 2000, currently stands at 73.5 metres.