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Monday, December 11, 2023

Central European Rally has time to handle WRC driver itinerary issues

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The WRC welcomed an all-new idea to the championship final weekend with the inaugural operating of the Central European Rally, which noticed rallying’s prime tier host an occasion in three nations for the primary time.

The Central European Rally idea, which is able to return in 2024, comprised 18 asphalt levels held within the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.

The occasion was nicely acquired by the championship and groups as followers turned out of their droves to witness the motion. Nonetheless, organisers have been pressured to cancel a stage as a consequence of spectators standing in harmful positions.

Learn extra: The five moments that defined Rovanpera’s second WRC title

Whereas the rally was a hit in taking the WRC to 3 nations of rally-mad supporters, the itinerary which included 1380 kilometres of street part [the highest of the season] to finish 310km of levels has been questioned by drivers.

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Maybe the largest speaking level was a three-and-a-half hour journey from Passau to Prague for the ceremonial begin after which 11kms of tremendous particular levels, earlier than heading again to the Passau service park. Crews then returned again to the Czech Republic for Friday’s levels.

“It’s the first time right here and there are issues you possibly can debrief and make higher, like for certain the street sections and make a greater itinerary,” stated Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier.

“It’s actually too lengthy and it is senseless and truthfully not becoming what we have to obtain. We attempt to promote commercially that we’re utilizing hybrid automobiles however for those who make a rally that’s 1600km it’s not proper. It needs to be higher.”

Photograph by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Staff Hyundai i20 N Rally1

M-Sport’s Ott Tanak added: “The format is just not higher than a standard rally. We’ve got been talking for a very long time about which route it ought to go and it’s worse.”

Rally winner Thierry Neuville acknowledged the itinerary issues however admitted he was blissful to drive the gap given the quantity of followers that had turned out to comply with the automobiles. He wish to see extra anti-cut units launched subsequent yr.

“The rally was good however the climate was shit so it made it very difficult and perhaps for subsequent yr we have to put extra anti-cut units in place if the rain is coming,” stated Neuville.

“There’s a little bit of a job to do on that aspect however usually I’m not in opposition to driving loads of street actions if we see that quantity of spectators. The keenness of the spectators was nice and the help. It was an excellent spectacle, so I don’t thoughts doing loads of mileage.

“For certain, there are issues to enhance however I feel it’s a whereas since we’ve got seen a lot pleasure for the occasion this weekend. All the opposite issues don’t matter a lot as a result of it was just like the WRC 5 years in the past.

“There have been individuals in every single place not simply on the levels however on the street sections.”

M-Sport boss Richard Millener echoed Neuville’s ideas however feels an in a single day keep in Prague subsequent yr would alleviate any itinerary issues. 

“I didn’t suppose the itinerary wants an excessive amount of, to be sincere,” he stated.

“After I checked out it I used to be dreading the size of the times and scything has run on time just about.

Rich Millener, Team principal M-Sport Ford Rally

Photograph by: M-Sport

Wealthy Millener, Staff principal M-Sport Ford Rally

“I feel the journey to Prague is clearly a good distance however taking a look at we solely had 11km of tremendous particular in Prague so do we have to come again to Passau service park after that?

“We may in all probability have had a parc ferme there after which do some levels on the way in which again to Passau on Friday morning which might have allowed them to have extra levels down in that space. I’d have in all probability ditched stage two and run the primary stage after which had a parc ferme.” 

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Autosport understands that organisers are eager to handle the occasion’s teething points forward of subsequent yr.

FIA street sport director Andrew Wheatley says the world motorsport governing physique has already acquired a barely amended itinerary for subsequent yr.

“The organisers are proposing an itinerary that’s comparable however not precisely the identical,” stated Wheatley. “They nonetheless have six months to suggest a remaining itinerary.”

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