by Pedro F.
Attending the Estoril Classics event has become a tradition for AV, so unsurprisingly here we are with coverage of the 2019 edition. There would be – as usual – a couple of bones to pick with the organizational part of the event (more frequent readers may know that AV doesn’t get a press pass and pays for tickets just like everybody else, so that really gives us the public’s perspective on a number of things) but regardless, it was once again worth the visit.
It’s not the competition per se which calls you to the event because that’s a very limited aspect of it, but instead the opportunity to just hang around some very interesting rides. The weather this year was temperamental and insisted on threatening the Estoril track with heavy rain all weekend long, but thankfully it ended up not being an issue. Still, the dark and gloomy atmosphere made for some pictures which lack in vivacity to say to least.
As usual, there’s too much to go through in just one post so this year the Estoril Classics coverage will be split into four parts: This first one will focus on the cars which participated in the “Rally de Portugal” Historic edition; the second part will take you on a tour of the pits with a kind of a sneak peek over the preparation involved in getting classic racers ready to show off again on track; the third installment will focus on the ACP Concours d’Elegance, held at the Estoril Casino gardens; and the last post will go through the most interesting visitors’ rides which popped up in the parking lots over the weekend.
Diving right into this first part of the coverage, for a road event in a relatively small country, the historic rally’s turnout wasn’t bad. With a Stratos, a 2.7 RS, a 131 Abarth and other neat stuff, it was certainly worth touring the event’s dedicated lot. Plus, there were a couple of very noteworthy presences: Hirvonen and Vatanen. Mikko Hirvonen had the Focus RS and Ari Vatanen, his Opel Manta 400 (plus, there was a Vatanen RS 1800 on the lot, but with a different driver). Both pilots went out on track, but unlike previous editions there was no public event with the drivers (for a quick chat and autographs as usual), which bummed us out. It was a missed opportunity to make things more special.
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