2nd – 4th June 2016
At a press conference held in Lagoa, the FIA European Rally Championship welcomed the Azores Airlines Rallye: the new name for the event previously known as SATA Rallye Açores.
Based on the archipelago’s largest island of São Miguel in the mid-Atlantic, the event will celebrate its half-century in 2015. The timed tests criss-cross breath-taking scenery and lush countryside, and are characterised by their sandy surface and narrow and undulating nature. And because the stages are often no wider than the width of a car, there is simply no margin for error, particularly on the Sete Cedades test, which runs along the rim of a volcanic crater lake. Changeable weather is also a factor with conditions switching from sunshine to showers and patches of fog thrown in for good measure.
The change has come about because of the rebranding of the national airline of the Azores, a long-time event sponsor. As a result there is a new identity for round four of the ERC, which takes place from 2-4 June on gravel and includes classic stages such as Sete Cidades, run around the rim of a volcanic crater lake.
Among those present at the press conference, which was streamed live on YouTube, was Francisco Coelho, the President of the rally’s organising committee, Paulo Manezes, the Chief Executive Officer of the SATA group (which owns Azores Airlines) and ERC General Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley.
“It’s a great new logo and identity that perfectly reflects the vibrant colours of the Azores, as well as the values of the ERC,” said Ley. “We’re very happy to say that we’re currently close to extending our contract with the Azores Airlines Rallye for another three years.”