Mag-nificent! Multiple ERC winner Magalhaes returns with Team Hyundai Portugal

Love is in the air for Portuguese pacesetter Bruno Magalhães who has marked Saint Valentine’s Day by announcing his return to the one he loves, the FIA European Rally Championship.

A three-time ERC event winner, Magalhães will drive a Hyundai i20 R5 for Team Hyundai Portugal in the eight-event European championship, starting with his home round, the Azores Rallye from 24-26 March.

Carlos Magalhães, who co-drove his namesake to two Portuguese titles and fifth place in the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, returns for their first campaign together since 2014.

Team Hyundai Portugal made the exciting announcement live on Facebook earlier today. Sérgio Ribeiro, CEO of Hyundai Portugal, proudly revealed the 2020 project with big ambitions for both the national championship and the ERC. He said: “We will take our values and our passion for rallies to the European championship, supporting national motorsport beyond borders.”

Lisbon-based Bruno Magalhães, who claimed the runner-up spot in last year’s Portuguese championship at the wheel of an i20 R5, said: “The championship I love is European. You have the special atmosphere, the coverage is really good and the rallies are all completely different, so it’s a big challenge for the drivers. Last year was difficult for me to be on the outside of the ERC, but I never forget the ERC. I was able to make an agreement with Team Hyundai Portugal to do the full European championship, which is really crazy news, really very good news.”

From one Magalhães to another for Magalhães
With Hugo Magalhães, who has co-driven Bruno Magalhães for the last five seasons, forming a new partnership for 2020, Bruno Magalhães has recruited Carlos Magalhães for his ERC return. “Hugo didn’t know about this project when he decided to go with another driver. But we are good friends and I decide to go with Carlos Magalhães because, as you know, to be my co-driver the name needs to be Magalhães! I talked with Carlos to make the project and he’s very excited because last year he just made one rally.”

Sports&You to provide expert support
Portuguese preparation specialist Sports&You will run Magalhães’ Team Hyundai Portugal-entered i20 R5, which has been updated to the latest specification. “I tried the car with the engine and suspension updates in Sardinia at the end of last year,” Magalhães, 39, explained. “It’s a big step compared with the car from last year and everybody is excited about the project. It’s the first time for Sports&You in the ERC so it’s a big challenge, but I have experience of most of the rallies and this will be important.”

Magalhães brings title-chasing pedigree to the ERC
While Magalhães isn’t setting any targets for 2020 while he focuses on his pre-season preparations, the Portuguese has recalled the 2017 and 2018 seasons as being particularly significant. “In 2017 I was fighting for the title until I crashed in the last round in Latvia. In 2018 I was second, just six points behind [Alexey] Lukyanuk, but I missed the two last rallies because of financial problems. That was a big disaster in my mind when you are so close to fight for the title again but you cannot because you don’t have money, that’s difficult to accept. But the truth is I never gave up. I came back to Portugal for a new project last year, but I didn’t forget the ERC. When I saw I had a chance, even though it was a very small chance to come back, I tried everything. If one day I can win this title then it’s the most important thing in my career for sure. I was so close in 2017, I was fighting for the dream in 2018 so this is my third chance to make good history, but I am not setting any targets.”

Where to watch Bruno Magalhães in 2020?
Azores Rallye, 26-28 March; Rally Islas Canarias, 7-9 May; Rally Liepāja (Latvia), 29-31 May; 77th Rally Poland, 26-28 June; Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy), 24-26 July; Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 28-30 August; Cyprus Rally, 9-11 October; Rally Hungary, 6-8 November.

Pictured from left to right are Carlos Magalhães, Sérgio Ribeiro and Bruno Magalhães