Welcome to the very first edition of our second Fantasy game here at TheRallyTakeover! The first round of WorldRX this year is located in Montalegre, Portugal, and features one of the more interesting tracks of the season.

Why is it interesting, you might ask? Well, it’s got the usual 40 % gravel 60 % tarmac as most rallycross tracks, and no jump. Almost no going up or down. How can that be exciting? Well. it’s one of the longest tracks of the season at 1520m and it’s one tarmac section and one gravel section. And it’s not the hard packed gravel we see at Loheac, it’s deep and more like a rally stage. It’s the highest altitude race of the season, at a power reducing 1800 metres above sea level. A fine-tuned, strong engine is important here. The start/finish straight is the longest of the season, and we will see cars hit their top speed here. The joker lap entry is located at the end of the straight, so cars entering the joker should carry their speed even longer than those following the normal route.

That means the track is one of the fastest of the season, despite it’s length. The lap record is held by current World Champion Petter Solberg, with 0:39.340. The fast, flowing curves and the deep gravel suits cars set up to be fast on the gravel, but drivers like Reinis Nitiss and Topi Heikkinen also felt at home here last year.

This year we have 21 supercars on the entry list for Portugal, two more than last year. This event is too early for a lot of the non-professional drivers, and we should see more of them when we get to Lydden Hill and Mettet. That means most of them are the WorldRX regulars, so this is a good opportunity to get to know the main guys this season. We have three wildcards, the Portuguese duo of Joaquim Santos and Mario Barbosa, and Frenchman Jean Baptiste Dubourg.

Santos is a former rally driver from the Group B era, and usually enters in Portugal with his Ford Focus. Last year he managed to get two points, decent for someone not competing in more events. Barbosa is a former competitor in the S1600 class, and will drive the Citroën DS3 Sebestien Loeb drove at Loheac in 2013. This is his first outing in a supercar, but when you take a look at how former S1600 European champions like Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss has tackled the extra power, Barbosa could be a surprise this weekend. Dubourg entered in Loheac last year, where he managed to get two points in a round that featured 37 entrants. Jean Baptiste has a background from S1600 as well, and had his first supercar season last year. He ended up second in the French Championship, and are also one that could reach a semifinal on a good day.

We’ve seen a lot of testing activity in front of this race, with especially SDRX, Marklund and Peugeot-Hansen active at various tracks in southern Europe. Not surprising, given that all three have title ambitions this year. You can watch this race live on livestream at 15:00 CET, with the first hour showing a summary of the heats and the last hour showing the finals.

In case you need to know more about rallycross before making your picks for this round, take a look at the season guide. The rules are at the bottom of the guide, but they’re really simple so I can just repeat the most important thing here. You pick six drivers, but you can only pick one driver from each team. Will there be prizes? I’ll go to one or two events this year and I’ll try to get something prize-worthy there! In case you want to do an in-depth analysis, I’ve made a statistics spreadsheet for your pleasure. All entrants are listed below, and you can find the official entry list here

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SDRX - CITROËN DS3
#1 Petter Solberg (NOR) - Average last 10: 23.20 - Last year: 29
#33 Liam Doran (GBR) - Average last 10: 6.29 - Last year: 0

OLSBERGSMSE - FORD FIESTA ST
#13 Andreas Bakkerud (NOR) - Average last 10: 14.20 - Last year: 20
#15 Reinis Nitiss (LVA) - Average last 10: 16.50 - Last year: 24
#42 Timur Timerzyanov (RUS) - Average last 10: 14.60 - Last year: 19

TEAM PEUGEOT-HANSEN - PEUGEOT 208 WRX
#17 Davy Jeanney (FRA) - Average last 10: 3.71 - Last year:
#21 Timmy Hansen (SWE) - Average last 10: 19.10 - Last year: 14

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VW MARKLUND MOTORSPORT - VW POLO RX
#45 PG Andersson (SWE) - Average last 10: 4.00 - Last year: N/A
#57 Topi Heikkinen (FIN) - Average last 10: 17.60 - Last year: 21

EKSRX - AUDI S1 QUATTRO
#10 Mattias Ekström (SWE) - Average last 10: 18.33 - Last year: N/A
#92 Anton Marklund (SWE) - Average last 10: 14.50 - Last year: 18

VOLKSWAGEN TEAM SWEDEN - VW POLO R WRX
#3 Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) - Average last 10: 14.25 - Last year: N/A
#99 Tord Linnerud (NOR) - Average last 10: 1.00 - Last year: N/A

WORLDRX TEAM AUSTRIA - FORD FIESTA VII
#7 Manfred Stohl (AUT) - Average last 10: 9.00 - Last year: N/A
#31 Max Pucher (AUT) - Average last 10: N/A - Last year: N/A

ALL-INKL.COM RACING MÜNNICH MOTORSPORT - AUDI S3
#55 Alx Danielsson (SWE) - Average last 10: N/A - Last year: N/A
#77 Rene Münnich (GER) - Average last 10: 0.00 - Last year: N/A

SINGLE CAR TEAMS AND INDEPENDENTS:
#4 Robin Larsson (SWE), Audi A1 - Average last 10: 12.33 - Last year: N/A
#41 Joaquim Santos (POR), Ford Focus - Average last 10: 3.00 - Last year: 3
#76 Mario Barbosa (POR), Citroën DS3 - Average last 10: N/A - Last year: N/A
#87 Jean Baptiste Dubourg (FRA), Citroën C4 - Average last 10: 2.00 - Last year: N/A