Cars speeding and the sound of engines attracts racing fans to Vila Real

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The cars accelerating, the sound of the engines and the conviviality is what attracts Vila Real enthusiasts to the urban circuit, regardless of whether the races are national or international.

The Vila Real International Circuit started on Friday and ends today, being, in this edition, reduced to national races.

“For us, who are from here and have this passion for racing, just being here and listening to the cars go by is enough. It doesn’t often matter about the quality of the races. It’s the reality. It is the conviviality with people and the environment, it is a passion that is instilled in the vila-realenses”, said Nuno Martins to the Lusa agency.

With scaffolding serving as a stand and tents set up in the area of the Mateus straight, one of the ‘spots’ of the Vila Real circuit, Nuno, family and friends settled there during the three days of the circuit.

“Every year we come here, we live right here in Mateus and we have everything to eat and drink here,” he said.

The difference with last year’s edition is “at the level of the public”, because, he said, “there is no international race”.

“Today is a little better, but on Friday and Saturday, compared to last year, there were fewer people,” he said.

On a scaffold next door, Íris Sousa said she hasn’t missed a circuit since racing resumed in 2014.

“We love the races, we are fans, we are all together, family and friends, we set up the scaffolding already in advance,” he said.

Íris Sousa said that the circuit “brings joy to the people, brings distraction”, although she also points to “fewer people” watching this year, because “these races are not so attractive”, referring to the national races.

“But for us, what matters is seeing the cars go by,” he said.

And he considered that “it is worth it” for those who have the passion of racing, despite the work and logistics with the assembly of scaffolding, tents and preparation of meals, lunches, dinners and snacks.

In 2023, the circuit includes five national races: the Portuguese Speed Championship (CPV) and also the National Championship of Classics, Legend, 1300 and Super Legend, in which around 120 drivers are registered.

The World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), a race held in Vila Real for six editions ended last year, but despite this, driver Tiago Monteiro, who competed in this championship for several years, returned today to the city of Trás-os-Montes.

“It’s always a good feeling to come back to Vila Real, obviously I’d rather be in the car, but at least come here, say hello to everyone, feel this adrenaline, this passion, this party and kill a little nostalgia”, he told reporters.

Tiago Monteiro said he wants to compete again at the circuit, which he considers to be “unique for all drivers” and said the return of an international race “was good”.

“And I think there are several opportunities for things to happen again”, he stressed, lamenting the “complicated period” that “motorsport is going through” and recalling that “covid-19 did not help and brands suffered a lot in sales”.

Tiago Ribeiro, 11, is Tiago Monteiro’s No. 1 fan and it is because of him that he also wants to be a driver and race in Vila Real. His sister, Ana Margarida, nine years old, even made a drawing to offer to Tiago Monteiro as a “reward for being one of the best racers in Vila Real”.

Grandmother Dúmia Salgado is also a racing fan and it is with some nostalgia that she recalls the old circuit.

“I miss the other races, the closures and openings of the circuit, the grilled sardines, the green broth, the endless traffic queues,” he said. Now, he pointed out, you no longer feel so much “the smell of the tire mixed with gasoline”.

Cars speeding and the sound of engines attracts racing fans to Vila Real

Racing is a passion for motorsport, but it is also a business.

And at the “Di’ferente” restaurant these have been busy days.

“The weekend is going very well,” said Maria Albertina, who said they have had many customers for lunch and dinner.

The days are also of some inconvenience, because of the conditions on the public road due to the installation of the teams in that area, but “it is worth it”.

Manuel Carvalho operates a stall selling drinks and food in the Mateus area and said that business had improved today.

“On Friday I didn’t even sell a barrel of beer, but they also cut off access and you couldn’t come here on foot, yesterday (Saturday) it got better, because they let people move around at will,” he said, considering that the WTCR “brought a lot of people from outside”.

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