Deputy prime minister of Portugal Alexandre Relvas has guaranteed funding for his country's round of the World Rally Championship.
Relvas, whose government offices are located in Lisbon, said he was delighted to see the support the Rally of Portugal was receiving at the opening stage around the streets of the capital.
As well as being the deputy PM, Relvas is also the minister of sport, hence his interest in the country's biggest motorsport event.
"This rally has a tradition in the World Rally Championship and the government will go on supporting the organization of the event to have it in the championship," Relvas told AUTOSPORT. "The World Rally Championship is very important to Portugal. It shows the importance of sport in Portugal around the world."
Relvas talked with the president of the Portuguese governing body of motorsport, Carlos Barbosa, met with some of the drivers and watched the stage before returning to his office.