Joined: Mar 2006
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Get to know more about the history of the Sertões International Rally
In 1991, architect Chico Morais promoted one of the first cross-country rallies in Brazil, the longest by then. That was Rally do São Francisco, which connected the city of Ribeirão Preto, in the countryside of São Paulo, to Maceió, in the state of Alagoas, following the path of the ?Old Chico? river. He had the idea after a lonely trip through inland Brazil, a story that became a book.
The rally was only resumed two years later, with a new name and new format then. It was the birth of the Sertões International Rally, now starting from the hills of Campos do Jordão (SP) and heading toward Natal (RN). In that year, 34 competitors ? all riding motorbikes ? joined the 3,500 km competition.
Cars were included in 1995, when the competition was included in the calendar of the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM). That edition had the participation of the Italian pilot Edi Orioli, which was later the champion of the Rally Daka r, and the Spanish pilots Fernando Gil and Jordi Arcarons.
One year later, Dunas Race started to organize the rally, starting in the state of São Paulo and arriving in Fortaleza (CE). According to the company?s owner, Marcos Ermírio de Morais, who took part in the first competition that included cars, competitors back then used a ethanol-powered, 122 hp, 4400 rpm crate engine Chevrolet A10 pick-up truck.
In 1999, trucks were also included in the competition. In the following year, the rally was the stage of a curious story. In a new start in the canyons of Chapada Diamantina, the competitors would have to cross a procession. As neither of the two events could be called off in the last minute, the priest was taken to the mass by helicopter so that the pilots could continue the competition.
The rally reached larger proportions with time, attracting more and more competitors, media, and companies, to be included in the World Motorcycling Championship in 2005. In 2008, the competition was also included in the world calendar of cross-country rallies of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), attracting the world elite of the time.
Experience, however, did not keep up. Incompatibilities in the regulations that negatively impacted local competitors led to the exclusion of cars and trucks from the world championship in the following year. In 2011, it was the time for motorbikes and quads to leave FIA?s international competition.
The Sertões International Rally of 2012 has 141 teams, including cars, trucks, motorbikes, and quads, with the starring SUVs. They are going to cross 4,846 km of dirt, gravel, and particularly sand, starting in São Luis, capital of Maranhão, and finishing in Fortaleza, Ceará.