Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier will make his debut appearance in the Fafe Rally Sprint this Saturday, a warm-up event for next week's Rally de Portugal, the fourth round in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship.
Ogier missed the Fafe Rally Sprint last season due to illness, and is now looking forward to competing on the famous 6.34 kilometre Lameirinha test in northern Portugal, with more than 100,000 fans expected to turn out.
“I'm very excited to be taking part in the Fafe Rally Sprint for the first time,” said the Frenchman and current championship leader. “I have heard a lot from other the drivers and our Portuguese mechanics about the famous jumps. I've also seen pictures with the thousands of fans from 2013. It seems like an incredible atmosphere and I love the dual nature of it. Of course we will give it our best shot in front of so many fans.”
“We are very excited to be entering the Fafe for the second time,” added Volkswagen boss Jost Capito. “The Rally Sprint is the most spectacular and emotional way to start a rally week. Long jumps in front of hundreds of thousands of fans – what more could you ask for?
"We want to take advantage of this opportunity for Sebastien Ogier and [co-driver] Julien Ingrassia to put on a really great show for the euphoric fans and drum up even more enthusiasm for Rally Portugal.”
Competitors have to fight it out during two qualifying rounds to make it into the Fafe Rally Sprint final. Whoever clocks the fastest time is then crowned champion. In addition, there is the unofficial, but much beloved by the fans, distance jump over one of the most challenging jumps of them all. The record distance of 73.5 metre was set back in 2000 by Armin Schwarz in a Skoda Octavia WRC.
Following the Fafe Rally Sprint on March 29, Rally de Portugal then kicks off with a 3.27-kilometre spectator stage on Thursday 3 April in Lisbon and finishes on the afternoon of Sunday 6 April with the presentation ceremony in the Estadio Algarve between Faro and Loule.