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WRC history to be made on Central European Rally


More FIA World Rally Championship history will be made next week (October 25-29) when the inaugural Central European Rally takes place across three countries.

While rounds of the WRC have crossed borders in the past, the Central European Rally is the first to include stages in three countries – Austria, Czech Republic and Germany – during the same event.
And with Czech Republic having never hosted the WRC before, another notable first will be achieved.
The innovative event is the culmination of an extensive collaboration between the Austrian Motorsport Federation (AMF), the Autoklub České Republiky (ACCR) and the Allgemeiner Deutsche Automobil-Club (ADAC).
It will rely on the support of more than 4100 volunteers, which further emphasises the vital importance of those who give up their time without financial reward to make motor sport happen.
While the event takes in elements of the long-running 3-Städte-Rally, the asphalt-only route is essentially all new for the WRC drivers and their teams. With the changeable weather conditions also expected to be a factor, the Central European Rally is set to present a considerable challenge for competitors.
As well as the use of hybrid power and fossil-free fuel, the FIA World Rally Championship’s focus on sustainability requires event organisers to adhere to a stringent environmental policy. The Central European Rally has worked to reduce its carbon dioxide footprint, in particular, by implementing several measures, including requiring its organising team to use electric cars and rewarding fans with prizes for sharing cars to travel to and from the various special stages.
Following a run of seven events using gravel stages, the WRC is returning to asphalt for the deciding two rallies of the 2023 season. While Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT provisionally claimed the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers on the last round in Chile, the destination of FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers is still undecided.
Defending world champion Kalle Rovanperä is 31 points ahead of his Toyota team-mate, Elfyn Evans, with 60 points still to fight for across the Central European Rally and the Rally Japan decider next month. The FIA WRC2 titles also remain up for grabs.
Central European Rally organisers have attracted a 68-car entry with the list including examples from all FIA rally car categories, Rally1, Rally2, Rally3, Rally4 and the entry-level Rally5.
The FIA World Rally Championship’s official tyre supplier Pirelli has made its PZero RA hard and soft tyres available, plus the wet-weather Cinturato RWB tyre. The hard compound is the designated first choice and will be used in warm and dry conditions. If it’s cool and damp, the soft compound option can be used. Teams are restricted to a maximum of 28 tyres for the entire event. This includes four for use in Wednesday afternoon’s Shakedown.


Based in Passau, southern Germany, the route takes crews north to Prague on Thursday October 26 for the ceremonial start and the opening superspecial stage at the Czech capital’s Chuchle Arena horseracing venue. The after-sunset 8.92-kilometre Circuit of Klatovy stage provides an action-packed stop on the route back south to Germany.
The rally returns to Czech Republic on Friday for three stages run first in the morning and then again in the afternoon. There’s no service halt during the day, just an opportunity to fit replacement tyres in the town of the Prachatice, Southern Bohemia. With 121.80 timed kilometres in store, a tough day is in prospect for the crews.
Two stages in Austria, Schärdinger Innviertel and Mühltal, are up first on Saturday with the 27.15-kilometre Mühltal test the rally’s longest. It’s then back into Germany for the Knaus Tabbert Bayerischer Wald test prior to midday service in Passau. Saturday morning’s stages are repeated in the afternoon with the rerun of Knaus Tabbert Bayerischer Wald getting under way after sunset.
Sunday’s deciding leg consists of two stages run twice, Böhmerwald in Austria and Passauer Land in Germany. They offer a combined competitive distance of 67.24 kilometres. The 16.37-kilometre Passauer Land test forms the Wolf Power Stage when it’s repeated at 12:15 CET. The podium in central Passau offers views of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers and is due to begin at 14:30 CET.


Stage distance:310.01 km
Total distance: 1690.67 km
Number of stages:18



Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team: As a German speaker driving for a Germany-based team, the Central European Rally is as close as it gets to a home event in 2023 for Thierry Neuville, who scored his seventh podium of the season with second place on Rally Chile earlier this month. Teemu Suninen was two stages away from a first podium driving for Hyundai when he crashed out of second place in Chile. The Central European Rally therefore provides an opportunity for the Finn to make amends. Having crashed out on the first stage in South America, Suninen’s compatriot, Esapekka Lappi, will be aiming to do likewise.

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team: Ott Tänak starts the Central European Rally fresh from his victory on Rally Chile. Team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet is back in action after crashing out of the Concepción-based event. Following his Rally1 debut on the gravel stages of Chile, Grégoire Munster will get to try M-Sport’s third Ford Puma on asphalt.

Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team: Having provisionally secured the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers in Chile, Toyota returns to a four-car line-up for the Central European Rally with eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier continuing his partial event schedule with the team. World champion Kalle Rovanperä and two-time runner-up Elfyn Evans are 31 points apart in the Drivers’ championship standings. Takamoto Katsuta pilots a fourth Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid.


Apart from Adrien Fourmaux (M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta Rally2), the FIA WRC2 Championship’s top nine according to the provisional standings have nominated the Central European Rally as one of their seven scoring events.
Current leader Andreas Mikkelsen (Toksport WRT3 Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) is four points ahead of Yohan Rossel (PH Sport Citroën C3 Rally2) with Gus Greensmith, Mikkelsen’s Toksport team-mate, a further five points behind.
Young talents Erik Cais and Adam Březík are among the Czech drivers taking part. Three-time national champion Simon Wagner flies the Austrian flag, as will Johannes Keferbök, a contender for the WRC Masters’ Cup. The German WRC2 contingent consists of Armin Kremer and Albert von Thurn und Taxis.
Now that he’s provisionally secured the FIA WRC3 title, Roope Korhonen is using the Central European Rally to build his experience in Rally2 machinery. Czech Filip Kohn and Germany’s Fabio Schwarz head the WRC3 entry driving Ford Fiesta Rally3s.


Media accreditation

Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Desk, located at the DEKRA Service Park, Dreiländerhalle, Messepark Kohlbruck, Dr.-Emil-Brichta-Str. 11, D-94036 Passau.

Passau Media Accreditation – Opening hours:

Monday 23 October: 12:00-18:00 hrs
Tuesday 24 October: 08:00-20:00 hrs
Wednesday 25 October: 08:00-21:00 hrs
Thursday 26 October: 08:00-20:00 hrs
Friday 27 October: 06:30-20:00 hrs
Saturday 28 October: 06:30-12:00 hrs 

Media Centre

Passau Media Centre – Opening hours

Monday 23 October: 12:00-18:00 hrs
Tuesday 24 October: 08:00-20:00 hrs
Wednesday 25 October: 08:00-21:00 hrs
Thursday 26 October: 08:00-23:00 hrs
Friday 27 October: 06:30-23:00 hrs
Saturday 28 October: 06:30-23:00 hrs
Sunday 29 October: 06:00-20:00 hrs

In addition, a satellite Media Centre will be operational at the Chuchle Arena Praha, Room Windsor, Radotínská 69/34, CZ 159 00 Praha 5:

Prag Media Accreditation – Opening hours

Wednesday 25 October: 12:00-20:00 hrs
Thursday 26 October: 08:00-20:00 hrs

Prag Media Center – Opening hours

Wednesday 25 October: 12:00-20:00 hrs
Thursday 26 October: 08:00-23:00 hrs


Central European Rally Media Activities and Opportunities 

Wednesday 25 October  
11:00 hrs:Tabard Media Safety Briefing, Media Centre (live stream also available)
16:01-17:30 hrs: Shakedown for P1 and invited drivers (Tittling, 3.62 km)
17:31-18:30 hrs: Shakedown for all priority drivers (Tittling, 3.62 km)
18:30-20:00 hrs:FIA WRC Media Pen, DEKRA Service Park, Passau
18:31-21:00 hrs:Shakedown for P2, P3 and non-priority drivers (Tittling, 3.62 km)
Thursday 26 October  
11:30 – 12:00 hrs:Autograph signing session for P1 drivers only (Prague Castle)
12:00-12:45 hrs:Media pen / driver interview opp. (holding area prior to start ramp, Prague Castle)
12:15 hrs:FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interview session (Start ramp, Prague Castle)
12:50 – 12:55 hrs:CER family photo on start ramp (P1 crews and officials)
13:00 hrs: Ceremonial start (Prague Castle)
13:00 hrs:Start of section 1
Friday 27 October  
07:00 hrs:Start of section 3
Approx. 19:45 hrs:Meet the Crews, DEKRA Service Park, Passau
Saturday 28 October  
06:55 hrs:Start of section 5
Approx. 20:00 hrs:Meet the Crews, DEKRA Service Park, Passau
Sunday 29 October  
06:20 hrs:Start of section 7
14:30 hrs:Final podium ceremony and prize giving, Passau podium
15:15 hrs:Final press conference, Media Center

Media zones

Media Zones attended by all drivers and selected team representatives will operate as follows:
TC 0, 2A, 5A, 8A, 11A, 14A and 18A

FIA WRC Meet the Crews, Start ramp, Prague Castle, Thursday 26 October (12:15)

12:15 – FIA WRC Team Principals
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Cyril Abiteboul
M-Sport Ford WRT – Richard Millener
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Jari-Matti Latvala
12:25 – FIA WRC2 Championship
Erik Cais (CZE), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
M-Sport Ford WRT – Adrien Fourmaux (FRA), Ford Fiesta Rally2
Ilka Minor (AUT), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
Albert von Thurn und Taxis (DEU), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
12:35 – FIA WRC Championship
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Thierry Neuville (BEL), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
M-Sport Ford WRT – Ott Tänak (EST), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Sébastien Ogier (FRA), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Kalle Rovanperä (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid

FIA Post-event Press Conference, Passau Media Center, Sunday 29 October (15:15)
Slot 1: Top 3 drivers in overall classification, winning co-driver and representative of the winning manufacturer.
Slot 2: Winning drivers of the WRC2, WRC2 Challenger, WRC Masters Cup and WRC3 categories.


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRTKalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN) - #69
 Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) - #33
 Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Vincent Landais (FRA) - #18
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRTThierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) - #11
 Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) - #4
 Teemu Suninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) - #3
M-Sport Ford WRTOtt Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) - #8
 Pierre-Louis Loubet (FRA)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) - #7


The provisional classifications following round 11 of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship are available here: