Czech President Petr Pavel gets teams underway in front of the Presidential Palace in the world-famous Hradcany Square in Prague. Minister-President of Bavaria, Markus Söder, to honour the winners of the new WRC Rally on Sunday afternoon in Passau. Highlights for fans on all four days of the Central European Rally – concerts in Klatovy and Peilstein.
The Central European Rally (26th to 29th October) welcomes fans with open arms this week: every day from Wednesday (25th October), visitors can enjoy the action in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and an extensive supporting programme. On Thursday, Czech President Petr Pavel and Petr Fiala, Prime Minster of the Czech Republic, will attend the ceremonial start. And the finish also shows the strong backing being given to the brand-new event by key decision-makers: Minister-President of Bavaria Markus Söder will be joined by Christian Bernreiter (Bavarian Minister for Housing, Construction and Transport) and Lord Mayor Jürgen Dupper to present the trophies in Passau. Between these highlights, a packed programme awaits visitors both on and off the rally route. Music lovers are also in for a treat: in Klatovy (Czech Republic), modern folk band Čechomor will take to the stage on Thursday evening. In the huge fan zone in Peilstein, Austria, singer Nana Falkner (Voice of Germany) and chart toppers “folkshilfe” will perform in the open air on Friday evening. Sugarsouls will lay down some beats on Saturday evening in the service park (Dreiländerhalle Passau). Information, schedules and maps of the spectator zones along the 18 special stages can be found on the rally homepage at centraleuropeanrally.eu.
First taster as early as Wednesday
The teams arrive on site before the start of the penultimate round of this season’s World Rally Championship. While the mechanics prepare the rally cars for their big moment, the drivers and co-drivers are out on the stages taking pace notes on the so-called “recce”. This all means that fans can check out the service park in Passau as early as Wednesday (26th October), if they have not already done so: it is here, at Kohlbruck exhibition park, that the teams set up camp for the duration of the rally and visitors can watch them go about their work. Admission to the service park is included with every ticket. Anyone who does not (yet) have a ticket can pay a one-off charge of € 5 to enter the service area, while admission to the area around the Dreiländerhalle is actually free on every day of the event. As well as the teams and the industry exhibition, there are also plenty of merchandise stalls, catering facilities and attractions for fans to enjoy. On Wednesday afternoon, the motors will roar into action for the first time in Tittling, as they take to the compact 3.4-kilometre Shakedown for their final test under practice conditions (from 16:00). Here too, admission is free.
Prologue day on Thursday, with Ceremonial Start and two special stages
After a final short recce on the extraordinary route for Super Special Stage 1 in the morning, the teams assemble shortly before midday at Hradčany Square in Prague. The Ceremonial Start will take place here from 11:30 and includes an autograph session, public press conference and group photo, before President Petr Pavel sends the first car on its way at 13:00. Just one hour later, the first times will be set on the ultra-compact Velká Chuchle stage: the 2.4-kilometre circuit on the racecourse in the Czech capital is undoubtedly one of the highlights for fans. Even before the WRC stars do their thing, fans can watch race cars and rally cars on the course. Furthermore, a host of other attractions, from exhibition vehicles to a rally simulator, await visitors in the sports complex. Once they have completed the opening stage, the WRC field then heads to the first Regrouping of the weekend in the centre of Klatovy. From 13:00, fans here can follow the action in Prague on an LED screen in the fan zone at the central Náměstí míru (Peace Square). Autocentrum Šmucler will also present vintage and modern cars from throughout the history of the iconic racing circuit. These will take to the Super Special Stage on the outskirts of the city (SSS2 – Circuit of Klatovy) between 13:00 and 16:30. Incidentally: two LED screens have also been erected in Fan Zone 1 (hairpin on the way out of town) to show the start and SSS1 live. After the Regrouping (from 16:40) and subsequent Super Special Stage (from 18:05), the entertainment continues in the Fan Zone in the town centre, where the band Čechomor will perform folk songs from 20:00.
Friday: Huge fan zone and chart toppers in Peilstein – the longest day of the rally
The sporting action on Friday features the Vlachovo Březí, Zvotoky and Šumavské Hoštice stages, each of which will be driven twice – once in the morning and once on the afternoon loop. The fan zones here are sure to attract many fans, as will the midday Regrouping and Technical Zone in Prachatice (from 13:02). At the same time, the party in the rally’s biggest fan zone will already be underway in Peilstein, Austria. Visitors can look forward to an extensive service here, where the Mühltal special stage ends on Saturday. For example, the large fan area has an LED screen, which will be showing the rally action from the Czech Republic from 14:00. Free Wi-Fi is also available here, as well as a children’s play area, a street food festival, and much more. One highlight is an open-air concert on Friday evening. First up on the LT1 show stage at 18:00 is Nana Falkner (Voice of Germany). From 19:00, Austro rockers Mundhoat will warm up the crowd, before chart toppers “folkshilfe” take to the stage from 20:00. Tickets (€ 34 each) for the concert can be purchased in advance at oeticket.com.
Saturday features the “king’s stage”
The LT1 show stage in Peilstein is once again an attraction for visitors on Saturday. Among other things, the large LED screens here will be showing the rally action live, starting in the morning. “The Voice” talent Nana Falkner will sing the Austrian national anthem. From midday, there will be music and entertainment. It goes without saying that there are plenty of attractions to entice rally fans, including food trucks, souvenir stalls, a children’s play area, free Wi-Fi, a Red Bull truck, and much more. The rally party will run into the evening before concluding with a DJ set. On the German side of the border, SS 11/14 Knaus Tabbert Bayerischer Wald offers another attraction – namely Fan Zone 2: here, breakfast is available from 07:00 in the Hochwaldhalle in Lackenhäuser. A “Scandinavian Corner” has been set up here for fans from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Estonia. During the second loop in the evening there will be special effects in the fan zone from 18:00, before the after-race party gets underway at 20:00, with a DJ getting the crowd going in the Hochwaldhalle. When it comes to the rally itself, Saturday is packed with action. After all, the schedule includes the “king’s stage”: with 28 kilometres against the clock, Mühltal is the longest special stage on the rally. In Fan Zone 4, above Peilstein, there is a specially built jump to add even more spice. The rally cars then return to the service park in Passau for the midday service (from 13:45) and in the evening (19:45). The service park itself will attract be of even greater interest to rally fans on Saturday. The fan arena at the Dreiländerhalle will be bouncing to the sound of some hot beats from 19:30, when live band Sugarsouls takes to the stage.
Sunday: Power stage and presentation ceremony
On Sunday, all eyes will be on Passau and the final kilometres against the clock. The drivers will tackle the Böhmerwald and Passauer Land stages twice, with the final running of the latter being classed as the “Wolf Power Stage”. There are valuable bonus points up for grabs on this stage, after which the winners and top three head to Passau, where the podium has already been assembled in front of the town hall. The deciding kilometres can be viewed live on the LED screen there from 12:00. Interviews will take place from 14:00 before the actual presentation ceremony at 14:30. Shortly before 15:00, the top three cars will roll up in front of the stage, where the crews will be presented with their hard-earned prizes by Minister-President Markus Söder, Christian Bernreiter (Bavarian Minister for Housing, Construction and Transport) and Jürgen Dupper (Lord Mayor of Passau).
Wednesday, 25th October
16:00 Shakedown, Tittling
Thursday, 26th October
11:30 – 12:00 Autograph session with P1 drivers at the start ramp in Prague
12:15 – 12:50 FIA WRC Meet the Crews / public press conference with team representatives and drivers/co-drivers at the start ramp in Prague
12:50 – 12:55 Group photo at the start ramp in Prague (drivers and officials)
13:00 Show start, start ramp in Hradcany Square, Prague Start of supporting programme at Regrouping and the Klatovy circuit
14:05 Super Special Stage 1 – Velká Chuchle
16:51 Regrouping and Technical Zone, Klatovy
18:05 Super Special Stage 2 – Circuit of Klatovy
20:00 Modern folk concert with the group Čechomor at Regrouping in Klatovy
20:35 Parc Fermé & Technical Zone, followed by flexi service, Passau exhibition park
Friday, 27th October
09:50 SS 03 – Vlachovo Březí 1
10:42 SS 04 – Zvotoky 1
12:15 SS 05 – Šumavské Hoštice 1 from
13:52 Regrouping and Technical Zone, Prachatice from
14:00 Programme in the Peilstein fan zone (Arena der Union Dreihans, Peilstein)
14:32 SS 06 – Vlachovo Březí 2
15:24 SS 07 – Zvotoky 2
16:59 SS 08 – Šumavské Hoštice 2
18:00 Start of support programme for open-air concert in Peilstein (Nana Falkner and Mundhoat)
19:14 Parc Fermé & Technical Zone, followed by flexi service, Passau exhibition park from
20:00 Open-air concert with “folkshilfe” on the LT1 stage in Peilstein
Saturday, 28th October
from 07:00 Rally breakfast, Hochwaldhalle Lackenhäuser
08:15 SS 09 – Schärdinger Innviertel 1
10:01 SS 10 – Mühltal 1
11:05 SS 11 – Knaus Tabbert Bayerischer Wald 1
13:45 Regrouping & Technical Zone, Passau service park
15:15 SS 03 – Schärdinger Innviertel 2
17:01 SS 13 – Mühltal 2
18:05 SS 14 – Knaus Tabbert Bayerischer Wald 2 with special effects at Fan Zone 2
19:30 Live music with Sugarsouls, fan arena at Dreiländerhalle, Passau
19:45 Parc Fermé & Technical Zone, followed by flexi service, Passau exhibition park
20:00 After-race party at Fan Zone 2, SS 11/14 Knaus Tabbert Bayerischer Wald
Sunday, 29th October
08:06 SS 15 – Böhmerwald 1
09:35 SS 16 – Passauer Land 1
08:33 Regrouping Ulrichsberg
10:34 SS 17 – Böhmerwald 2
12:15 SS 18 – Wolf Power Stage, Passauer Land 2
12:00 Start of commentary at stands in Passau and live coverage of the Power Stage
14:00 – 14:30 Interviews
14:30 – 14:55 Presentation ceremony for WRC2 and WRC up to 4th place
14:55 – 15:10 Presentation ceremony for WRC top three and trophy presentation by Minister President Markus Söder, Christian Bernreiter (Bavarian Minister for Housing, Construction and Transport) and Jürgen Dupper (Lord Mayor of Passau)