The engines of the Rally Princess of Asturias-Ciudad de Oviedo 2018 resounded in the heart of Oviedo. Uría street has been the scene of a colorful official exit ceremony, which has allowed fans to enjoy a first contact with the cars and start placing their bets on the favorites of this 55th edition, with a historical inscription. The crowd has swirled on the sidewalks and in the surrounding streets where all the equipment waited for the signal.
The ceremony was attended by the president of the Royal Spanish Federation, Manuel Aviñó; the president of the organizing committee and the Automobile Club Principado de Asturias (ACPA), Julián Moreno; the president of the Asturian Federation of Motorsports (FAPA), Carlos Márquez; the General Manager of Sports, José Ramón Tuero; and the Councilor for Sports of Oviedo, Fernando Villacampa.
The expectations of the pilots
The stage located at the height of Campo San Francisco has also served as a speaker so that some of the favorites, those that appear in all the pools, have commented with the journalists Fernando Velasco and Ángel González the expectations with which they begin the race, the best meteorology for them and also who is the most dangerous rival.
Iván Ares, who currently heads the Spanish Rally Championship of Asphalt (CERA) and who already keeps in his glass cabinet the cups for his two victories in the Rally Princess of Asturias, has recognized that he does not remember another race like this by the level of the inscriptions. The Galician pilot is looking at the sky. He hopes that the weather does not give him headaches. He wants it to rain or not, but he would not like a changing meteorology that makes him doubt which wheels to ride.
Miguel Fuster will fight for the victory. He explained that "this 55th edition is very important and makes the motivation get higher". However, that extra hardness also gives the victory "a better taste". The veteran Catalan driver has assured that the Rally Princess of Asturias is a turning point in the CERA, that the nerves begin to tighten in a championship "with a speed that I did not remember".
José Antonio Suárez Rocket from Pravia threatens the duel between Ares and Fuster. The Spaniard loves to "race at home, in the streets that I cross every day, in front of the people I know". Rocket, very applauded by the audience, has assured that this pressure does not mean something negative for him, rather motivates him: "They are just another horse for the car". He has predicted "a beautiful battle" and has not dared to make weather forecasts.
Two other names have delighted the fans. The ex world champion Dani Solá returns with illusion to race on the asphalt and it does it in Asturias, in the Rally Princess of Asturias. He does not expect to be among the first because he has to pick up the rhythm first but he is willing to "devote himself." The competition is completely new for the Bolivian Marco Bulacia, who at his 17 years old premieres at the CERA. "It's a challenge for us. We went out to learn, to finish and stay close to the points”, he said during the official exit ceremony.
A promising rally
The list of registrants has been closed with a total of 168 teams, among which stand out, by their growing number, the R5. It is one of the best inscriptions in history. The 2018 edition has a total of 12 special stages - in addition to the shakedown - which make more than 170 kilometers. After the success of 2017, the organization has once again included the Oviedo-Uvieu International Strech, which will be broadcast live by TPA. That has also been the location chosen to set up the Fan Zone, which the Spanish Royal Federation wants to extend to all CERA competitions. This Fan Zone will be open to the public from 12.00pm until 9.00pm. It will have a stage, restoration zone, car simulators and brand stands.
Before the start of the timed stretches, which will be held in the afternoon, the shakedown or test section Ribera de Arriba will take place. There, the drivers will set up their vehicles. As a novelty in this edition, the shakedown route will held the qualification section too. The priority pilots will have the opportunity to choose their starting position in the Rally, depending on their times. That choice of position will be held at midday , at the Hotel Castillo del Bosque de La Zoreda.