An ex-Formula 1 driver in the XX Portals Classic Rally

Personalities during the presentation of the Classic Rally
From left to right: Demetrio Lladó, president of the FAIB (Federación Automovilismo Islas Baleares), Carlos Diego Veñy, Manager of the ICE (Institut Calvianer d’Esports), Alex Caffi (Ex F1 driver), Toni Dezcallar (Race Director), David Salom, General Director of Sports of the Palma Town Hall, Carmen Peñas, General Director of Tourism of the Calvià Town Hall, Álvaro Irala, General Director of Puerto Portals.
The famous Italian driver Alex Caffi, who competed in 77 Formula 1 Grand Prix races, will take the start on 7 March in Puerto Portals, together with 115 teams from all over the world.

Calviá, February 26, 2024 – Less than two weeks before the start of the historic motor race par excellence in the Mediterranean, also known as ‘The Pearl of Rallies,’ the 20th edition of the Classic Rally Island of Mallorca was presented today in Puerto Portals with impressive participation figures once again. This further solidifies the event as one of the premier sports gatherings in the Mediterranean at the international level.

Puerto Portals, the venue and closed park for the event, was the chosen setting to present all the news for the 20th anniversary of the Classic Rally Island of Mallorca to the media. The event director, Toni Dezcallar, was accompanied by David Salom, the General Director of Sports for the Palma City Council, Carmen Peñas, the General Director of Tourism for the Calvià City Council, José María Bautista, the Director of the

Mallorca Tourism Foundation, Carlos Diego Veny, the Manager of ICE (Calvià Sports Institute), Demetrio Lladó, the President of FAIB (Balearic Islands Automobile Federation), Álvaro Irala, the General Director of Puerto Portals, and Alex Caffi, former Formula 1 driver who competed in 77 Grand Prix races alongside great pilots such as Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. Caffi, this year, is the anticipated star for the thousands of fans of the Balearic event. The Italian Formula 1 driver expressed his excitement during the presentation about participating in this internationally prestigious race and stated, “I hope to perform well, although I am aware of the high level of participating teams and the challenging stages.”

Alongside them, Dezcallar presented an incredible itinerary for this edition, including the Sa Calobra stage, undoubtedly the highlight of the competition and eagerly awaited by both drivers and fans. The stage could not take place in the previous edition due to adverse weather conditions and heavy rains.

The rally, spanning three days and featuring 15 timed stages covering over 500 kilometers, with 170 kilometers on exclusively closed roads, will commence on the evening of Thursday, March 7, with two night stages. On Friday, drivers will tackle 5 more stages, including the iconic Sa Calobra, and on Saturday, as the final culmination, they will race through 8 stages, including one on the Llucmajor circuit.

This year, the rally introduces a new categorization based on the vehicle’s year, dividing the Speed category into three groups as in the Spanish Motorsport Championship: Scratch Pre ’81, Scratch Pre ’90, and Scratch Pre ’98. Meanwhile, in the Regularity category, there are two groups – High Regularity and Low Regularity. Additionally, for the second consecutive year, the starting order is reversed, with speed vehicles leading, followed by regularity vehicles.

Expectation during the press conference, Formula 1
Great expectation during the press conference where several novelties were presented.

In this anniversary year, the numbers are also cause for celebration. Teams from more than 11 different countries, totaling 115, will participate in this edition. Germany, Spain, and England are the main countries of origin for participants, joined by drivers from Switzerland, Austria, Argentina, and Canada.

In addition to these impressive figures, reflecting a high-quality event that attracts an increasing number of national and international champions, there is a wide variety of brands competing for victory. Specifically, 27 different brands will delight fans who come to the island from March 7 to 9 to experience the passion for historic motors.

This edition will also be one of the most demanding and competitive in memory, with the participation of renowned national and international drivers in both the Speed and Regularity categories, such as three-time champions Nadal Galiana and Seb Perez, two-time champion Kris Rosenberger, and champion Florian Feustel.

All of them, along with other great drivers, will compete against the clock in each stage to secure the daily victory and become the overall rally champion at the end of the third day. In the Regularity category, there are also great champions, but we want to highlight the story of the female team Edelhoff/Binder, with number 101 and their 1973 Ford Escort RS 2000, returning to the race after participating in the first edition 20 years ago.

Another interesting fact about this event, showcasing the quality of the participating cars, is the average age of the vehicles, which this year is set at 42 years. This reflects the organization’s excellent work in obtaining the most exclusive historic vehicles each year. In this edition, the honorary award for the oldest vehicle goes to a 1957 MG MGA Roadster, which at 67 years old will be one of the iconic pieces of the event alongside other automotive gems from exclusive brands such as Porsche, Jaguar, Audi, or Ferrari.

Once again, fans, in addition to enjoying the stages, can experience the excitement of the teams and drivers up close at Puerto Portals, the event’s headquarters for the past 12 years, and a unique location to observe all the vehicles and converse with the drivers. The departure from the main dock or the awards ceremony on the last day of the competition in one of the best ports in the Mediterranean creates a unique setting in the world for the competition.

Alex Caffi formula 1 driver and Toni Dezcallar, director of the event, chatting during the press conference,
Alex Caffi and Toni Dezcallar chatting during the presentation of the XX Edition of the Puerto Portals Classic Rally.

At the end of the presentation, the event director emphasized the commitment of the Classic Rally Island of Mallorca to the environment and the competition’s surroundings. He stated that, in addition to working closely with the Balearic Islands Automobile Federation for sustainability, raising awareness among drivers and fans to follow environmental recommendations, the organization collaborates with the Reforest Project Association to preserve Mallorca’s privileged Mediterranean forest, reforesting and planting trees in key areas such as the Tramontana mountain range.

Puerto Portals’ director, Álvaro Irala, stated, “It is an honor for us to be the venue for this event, which has been a classic motor reference in the Mediterranean for 12 consecutive years. Puerto Portals is the perfect setting for Mallorca’s motor enthusiasts to experience classic car rally excitement up close. We invite everyone to come to Puerto Portals and enjoy these rolling gems. This year’s level is hard to surpass.”

Carmen Peñas, the General Director of Tourism for the Calvià City Council, noted, “Being the venue for the Classic Rally is a great opportunity for Calvià to showcase everything the destination can offer while contributing to reducing seasonality, with the presence of teams of pilots from all parts of the world.”

Carlos Veny, the Director of ICE, emphasized, “It is a unique opportunity to enjoy historic vehicles, and we encourage Calvià residents to visit the facilities of Puerto Portals during these days to experience a rally unlike any other. It once again demonstrates our municipality’s commitment to sports, especially when they have a tourist impact outside the central months of the season.”

The Balearic Islands Automobile Federation (FAIB), at the end of the presentation, expressed gratitude to the event organizers for making such a high-quality event possible for motor enthusiasts year after year, positioning Mallorca as a reference in competitive sports.

Finally, Dezcallar thanked the sponsors, Puerto Portals, Brose, Consell de Mallorca, Calvià City Council, and Llucmajor Circuit, for their support and assistance in making events of this level a reality. He also reminded fans that they can follow the competition live and stay well-informed through the website( and social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and Youtube). As well as through ‘Sportity’, the Rally APP that can also be downloaded by the fans as well as the drivers and have all the information in the palm of your hand at the click of a button.

Source: Communication Office of the Classic Rally

IMAGES: Villegas Photo


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *