Activities for fans make the Central European Rally an event for the whole family
Apart from fascinating rally sport, the Central European Rally also offered a whole range of activities for fans. Top: The "indoor fan arena" in the Dreiländerhalle in Passau, which attracted visitors with interviews, live broadcasts, catering and more, regardless of the weather. On Saturday, Peilstein in Austria offered everything a visitor's heart could desire - including an open-air concert with the Austrian shooting stars "folkshilfe" the evening before. Thursday offered the already legendary rally atmosphere at the circuit of Klatovy (CZE), including regrouping and party on the picturesque market square, where the modern folk band Čechomor played in front of a full audience in the evening.
World Championship-like inclusion
Thierry Neuville supports a charitable institution at the venue with a donation at every WRC round. This time, the cheque went to the support centre of the Wolfsteiner Werkstätten - a facility for people with physical or mental handicaps. "The services offered by Caritas are aimed at all people who are socially disadvantaged - regardless of skin colour, religion or nationality," emphasised the Belgian. "At this rally, I particularly support the branch that works for people with disabilities," he wrote on his Instagram account, among other things, and is looking forward to meeting those employees who created the CER winners' trophies in the workshops. "The great team at Wolfsteiner Werkstätten created 18 wonderful trophies, they look really good," Neuville said. Neuville himself accepted one of the unique pieces made of wood, metal and glass at the award ceremony in Passau's town hall square on Sunday. "These trophies are unique and a living sign of inclusion," emphasises Fritz Schadeck, Director of Youth and Sport at ADAC Südbayern e. V., which has meanwhile expanded its cooperation with Caritas to include the whole of Bavaria. By the way, the trophies show the maps of the three organising partner countries Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria.
Great start in front of the Presidential Palace in Prague
At the start in Prague, Czech President Petr Pavel himself waved the flag - directly in front of the Presidential Palace on Hradčany and in front of thousands of spectators. He was flanked by Zbyněk Stanjura, the Czech Minister of Finance, and Bohuslav Svoboda, the Mayor of Prague. On the sporting side, ADAC Sport President Dr Gerd Ennser, Prof. Dr Harald Hertz, President of the Austrian AMF, and of course the Czech host JuDr Jan Šťovíček, Ph. D. (ACCR President) did not miss the opportunity to accompany the start of the first WRC rally in three countries.
Already after the pre-sale had ended, the organisers of the WRC round had a smile on their faces, because the result had exceeded expectations. And there were even more fans on site, so that in the end 125,000 visitors were counted during the four days of the rally. And they made sure that there was a lot of activity, not only in the fan zones. Again and again, the spectator guides had to point out to the visitors that the fan zones and car parks were at their capacity limits, to divert them to the shuttle buses or even to ask them to drive to other stages. By the way, parallel to the award ceremony, the advance booking for 2024 was started, when the CER will take place from 31 October to 3 November: For three days, the "Early Bird Ticket" for all four rally days is available for 69,- Euros (regular price this year: 99 Euros).
Power failure on Sunday in Passau
On Sunday morning, hundreds of households in Passau were without electricity. The headquarters of the Central European Rally in Passau-Kohlbruck was also affected - including the Service Park, Media Centre and Rally Control. Between 10:50 and 11:38 a.m., all devices had to be switched to battery and emergency operation. However, this did not affect the course of the special stages.
Luck of the draw
The Powerstage SS 18 was delayed due to a medical emergency involving a spectator. The Medical Intervention Car, manned by an emergency doctor, had to be called out, so that the SS was started with a 13-minute delay. The spectator was treated on site and quickly recovered. "The best place for such incidents is a motorsport event, because we are prepared for all medical eventualities," says Andreas Spannbauer, Chief Safety Officer of the Central European Rally. "And if necessary, the sport then has to wait a few minutes when the fastest help can be provided by a doctor who is actually assigned to the special stage."
Neuville receives the "Peilstein"
At the award ceremony in Passau, Hyundai ace Thierry Neuville could be happy about a very special award: He received the "Peilstein", which was awarded for the longest jump over a ramp at the special stage Mühltal, which was built only for this purpose. In front of the large crowd at the Austrian fan hotspot, the Belgian made a jump of 29 metres - further than any other driver in the field.