The city of Porto is already counting down to receive the "Porto Special Stage", a special stage included in the 55th edition of the Rally of Portugal, the biggest motor sports event held in the country, which annually attracts thousands of tourists and lovers of the sport. This year, celebrating half a century of editions of the world rally championship, the race organized by the Automobile Club of Portugal (ACP) gathers 25 nationalities and, for the first time in two years, will again be attended by the public. The Portuguese round will be held between 19 and 22 May (from Thursday to Sunday), over eight sections and 22 special events. In the North of Portugal and Centre of the country, 343.3 of the approximately 1,500 kilometres that make up the championship will be contested. The Porto Super-Special will start at 7pm on Saturday 21st and will cover 159.14 timed kilometres.
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The crowds and the excitement are guaranteed, but there is more news. For the first time, the Rally of Portugal will have three "super-specials": besides Porto, Coimbra (a three-kilometre night "super-special" by the Mondego river) and Lousada will be added. It is also the first time that the race will include the new generation of Rally1 hybrid cars, which will make their debut on dirt tracks.
The overwhelming number of participants also stands out among the news. The fourth round of the 2022 World Rally Championship is the event that registered the highest number of entries - 100 teams - which demonstrates the prestige and relevance of the Portuguese stage. This is also proven by the two main favourites for victory: Sébastien Loeb (nine times winner of the World Rally Championship), navigated by Isabelle Galmiche, in a Ford Puma Rally 1, and Sébastien Ogier (eight times World Rally Champion), accompanied by Benjamin Veillas, in a Toyota GR Yaris Rally 1. The two French champions and arch-rivals elected the Portuguese race to be on their calendars of occasional participations, after they both fought for the victory in the last Monte Carlo Rally, in Monaco. If Ogier wins first place again (which would be the sixth time), he will become the most successful driver ever in the history of the Portugal Rally.
Outside the competition, the World Rally Championship fans will also have other points of interest, such as visiting the exhibition at Exponor, in Matosinhos, which displays some of the cars that have marked the World Rally Championship, such as the Fiat 131 Abarth, the Alpine-Renault A110, the Lancia Rally 037, the Lancia Delta S4, the Lancia Delta Integrale, the Opel Ascona 400 or the Audi Quattro. Access to the show is free of charge. This is also where the operations centre and the assistance park for the participating teams are located. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to meet former winners of the race, who also make sure to be present in Portugal. This is the case of the Finns Marku Alén (five wins in Portugal), Ari Vatanen and Marcus Grönholm, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz, the Italian Miki Biasion and the German Walter Rohl.
The Rally of Portugal is not only about competition, but also an emblematic tourist event, as the Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, pointed out. "This type of event is of enormous interest to the city, not only from a sportive point of view and in what interests the fans of the sport, but also in the promotion of Porto as a tourist destination of excellence," said the mayor, convinced that it will again be "a very special moment". Just think that in 2019, the last edition before covid-19, the passage of the event through Portugal generated 141.2 million euros in the national economy.
The impact is undeniable in various sectors, even in those with less obvious visibility, such as real estate. Although it is not possible to measure the immediate return from the presence of foreign visitors in the city, it is clear that no one will remain indifferent to the luxury apartment and villa market in a country that stands out for its safety, climate, Atlantic coastline and consequent quality of life, as attested by the numerous awards won over the last few years, as well as the growing portfolio of clients spread around the world of LUXIMOS Christies International Real Estate, a company that leads the market in Porto and North of Portugal and whose activity has also become undeniable in the Algarve.
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A good way of understanding the prestige of Porto real estate is to look up at every moment of the "Porto Special Stage". Three examples: Avenida Dom Carlos I, in the heart of Foz do Douro, currently being prepared to receive the high-speed rush of cars, is dotted with new developments with houses overlooking the river. The apartments built in the streets surrounding the Forte de S. João Batista, which have now been reinforced for the international competition with cobbled pavements, offer a privileged view over the Douro River, a waterfront that allows for kilometre-long walks and what is considered to be the most beautiful sunset in the city. And Rua do Passeio Alegre, whose stopping and parking will be prohibited on race days, offers today what for many years did not exist: remodelled houses with garden and garage, which preserve the 19th-century architecture invested in the typical houses of Old Foz.
During these days that mark the return of the "Porto Special Stage" to the road, all you have to do is be prepared to be marvelled or just walk by the river and the sea to the LUXIMOS Christies International Real Estate office, located on Avenida Brasil. It is a three-minute walk from the race venue.
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