Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth's WRC Academy campaign has kicked off with Rally Portugal's opening stage, the 3.27 kilometre Super Special around the streets of Lisbon.

Watched by 30,000 spectators, it was an exciting introduction to the top level of the sport for the Aussie duo, but they weren't overawed by the situation and finished the stage in third position, just point seven of a second behind the leading Academy driver.

The lead up to the day's opening stage had been a busy one - the Academy crews travelled from the rally base near Faro to Lisbon by bus to complete their reconnaissance of the Super Special stage - in golf buggies!  Reeves then took part in the official WRC press conference after being asked to be the Academy representative for the first event.  It was then time to get the rally underway with the Super Special before the teams headed back to Faro.

The rally proper starts today with six stages - three stages run twice each - and another six stages (again, three stages run twice each) on Saturday. The rally schedule is listed below with Australian Eastern Daylight Saving times in brackets).

Regular updates and photos from the event will be posted on Reeves's website throughout the rally

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