The right crowd

Sir,

Having read John Davenport's story on the Rally of Portugal, I wish to congratulate him for not blaming crowd control for its exclusion from the world championship calendar. Someone with his experience knows that there are, still today, other famous places where crowd behavior is much worse Monte Carlo, San Remo, Corsica just to name a few.

I agree with his views on Cesar Torres' main role as the rally's supremo. He was the Portuguese Rally. And that explains why the rally got dumped. It was nothing to do with last year's fiasco in the rain. Only if you live in Portugal can you understand that winter 2001 was the worst in more then 20 years eight months of consecutive rain.

Davenport, though, fails to mention that the decision to dump Portugal was taken before San Remo and the Rally of Great Britain were held, these two being under warning from the 2000 season.

Being a small peripheral country, with no national car manufacturer, it was obvious that Portugal was the weakest link in the WRC - especially when the almighty German Rally wanted to get in. But ask drivers if they would prefer to have Portugal or Turkey, and you would get the same answer from all - Portugal.

I am, Yours etc, Francisco Mota, Lisbon, Portugal