Rally ruckus upsets sleepy Spanish village

Rally disrupts village life

Rally Ciutat de Gandia in action. Credit: JP/Costa Blanca Photography

Is a bit of peace and quiet too much to ask for?

Angry villagers are something usually associated with gothic horror films, but the residents of Pinos, a tranquil little village nestled beneath the Sierra Bernia mountains along the Costa Blanca, are up in arms, and with good reason.

On Saturday, May 11, the XVIII Rally Ciutat de Gandia is due to take place, the organisers have announced the closure of the only two roads into the village for a lengthy four and a half hours.

The closure of the CV749, from Xalo through Sierra Bernia to Benissa, will isolate the villagers from 4:26 pm to 9:04 pm.

Road closure controversy

This decision leaves inhabitants either trapped inside or stranded outside, causing substantial disruption to their daily routines.

However, the concern doesn’t end there, the potential for wildfires sparked by the rally cars is also a risk, especially given the temperatures of brake discs can soar up to 1,200 degrees Celsius.

Despite voicing their worries, locals have yet to receive a response from authorities or event organisers. The village which is home to approximately 100 people, has also raised concerns over the impact to local businesses, particularly for those operating eateries near the picturesque Sierra Bernia trail.

Environmental concerns

In the past, a brief reopening allowed for some movement. However, this year, the stretch between Xalo and Pinos will remain closed, fuelling fears of environmental damage and access issues.

Even when the race is over there is often a clean-up operation involved with discarded cans and tab ends, and worst of all, used toilet paper.

Villagers’ pleas for a compromise, such as a passage between Xalo’s rally stages, have so far gone unanswered.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.