From 4 to 7 September 2019, Vimioso (P) will host the seventh edition of the King of Portugal. Its fast tracks and the dreaded Dinosaur Eggs are a guarantee of an absolute spectacle. The BF Goodrich King of Portugal, the penultimate race of the 2019 Ultra4 Europe championship, will award important points to designate the 2019 European champion.
Photography and story by Paolo Baraldi
Vimioso, a Portuguese municipality of over 5,000 inhabitants located in the Bragança district, is home to the BF Goodrich King of Portugal organized by Ultra4 Europe and the Clube Norte 4x4 led by Jose Rui Santos.
King of Portugal: the European King of the Hammers
Since 2013, the year in which the first King of Portugal took place, drivers were enthusiastic about this race both for its variety of tracks and for its length. Of all the European "kings", the KOP is certainly the one most reminiscent of the Californian King of the Hammers. The tracks of the Vimioso area allow to reach high speeds and the huge rocks of Dinosaur Eggs are among the most difficult and feared trails in Europe.
Since 2014, the year of the first Ultra4 Europe championship, the winners of the King of Portugal have become European champions three times: Levi Shirley 2014, Emmanuel Costa 2016 and Jorge Araujo 2018. The KOP has been won twice by American drivers: Levi Shirley 2014 and Casey Currie 2017. The Portuguese Emmanuel Costa has won three King of Portugal: 2013, 2015 and 2016. In 2015, Costa won both the King of Motos and the Ultra4 race in the same weekend.
The winners of the King of Portugal in the history
2013: Emmanuel Costa (P)
2014: Levi Shirley (USA)
2015: Emmanuel Costa (P)
2016: Emmanuel Costa (P)
2017: Casey Currie (USA)
2018: Jorge Araujo (P)
BF Goodrich King of Portugal 2019
This year, the King of Portugal will take place from 4 to 7 September. Who will be the 2019 "KING" of Vimioso?
Certainly, Jim Marsden (UK), Rob Butler (UK) and Cedric Porcher (F) but also Nicolas Montador (F), Axel Burmann (B), Iñaki Lanzagorta (E) and house drivers like Emmanuel Costa and Filipe Guimareas need to be monitored.
The point of the situation of Ultra4 Europe 2019 championship
After three races (Spain, France and Wales) the 2019 BF Goodrich Ultra4 Europe championship standings is taking shape. Jim Marsden with the victory at the BF Goodrich King of Spain and the BF Goodrich King of Britain, and the fourth place at the BF Goodrich King of France, is the leader of the general ranking with 2974 points. The Frenchman Cedric Porcher is second with 2890 points and Rob Butler is third with 2540 points. It seems that the struggle for victory in Ultra4 Europe's 2019 season is precisely among these 3 drivers with the Spanish Iñaki Lanzagorte (fourth with 2363 points) and the German Bernd Schäfer (fifth with 1895 points) who could go to break the eggs in the basket to the leaders.
Here are the leaders of the Everyman Challenge: Chris Roberts in the 4800 class, Jeremie Bourgeois in the 4500 class, Felip Esteban in the 4600 and Stijn Vekeman in the 4900.
Road to the Hammers 2020
As announced at the beginning of the year, the best drivers of each nation in the 4400 class will have the chance to participate in the King of the Hammers in 2020.
We recall the words with which Richard Crossland, U4E Managing Director, explains how the Road to Hammers 2020 works.
“This year we run the road to the hammers competition.
What is #roadtothehammers?
·This is a competition for all 4400 competitors who race in the BFGoodrich Tires Ultra4 European Championship
· You qualify by competing in at least 3 of the championship races.
· You are competing against fellow countrymen.
· The highest placed race team from each country that races in the championship wins.
· They then get the chance to race in the ‘big one’. The iconic King of the Hammers.
What you get:
· Shipping from & to a central location in europe to the lakebed. The home of King of the hammers.
· Guaranteed place in the race.
· Pit location and pit tent in the Team Europe area.
· Access to all the best experts in the business to help make your car even better.
· All you pay for is your entry fee and all personal expenses: fly tickets, fuel, food etc.
· If you want to have a qualifying position and not start from the back of the grid you can also pay for qualifying.”
Here is a list after round 3 of who could qualify for the Road to Hammers 2020. I remind you that the definitive and official list will be available only after the last race (BF Goodrich King of Poland) of the 2019 championship.
- Jim Marsden (GBR)
- Cedric Porcher (FRA)
- Iñaki Lanzagorte (ESP)
- Bernd Schäfer (GER)
- Rudy Farrugia (MAL)
- Hendrik De Nijs (NED)
- Axel Burmann (BEL)
- Emanuel Costa (POR)
- Pier Acerni (ITA)
- Roger Troguet (AND)