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The Excitement of WRC - Central European Rally Pt. 2

The Excitement of WRC - Central European Rally Pt. 2

November 2023 · 7 min read · Passau

Central European Rally

Central European Rally - Hive Rally Car - Photo by Honza Froněk
Central European Rally - Hive Rally Car - Photo by Honza Froněk

The WRC Central European Rally 2023 was held from 26 to 29 October 2023. It was introduced to the WRC World Rally Championship this year and it was the first edition of the rally beyond borders as round of the WRC calendar.

It was held in 3 different countries, Czech RepublicAustria and Germany. Ceremonial Start at Hradčany Square in Prague and SS1 taking place on Thursday and Finish Podium on Sunday afternoon in Passau Germany. It was 310km of racing on 18 stages and 1380km of road section

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Click on the link above if you missed part one and want to check it out

Second day of WRCCentral European Rally started as they promised, with rain. We got up early, took our umbrellas and raincoats and were on our way from Passau Germany to Soběšice Czechia to . It was over 2 hours drive.

Thierry Neuville - WRC Central European Rally
Thierry Neuville - WRC Central European Rally
Thierry Neuville - WRC Central European Rally
Thierry Neuville - WRC Central European Rally

A quick stop to the gas station for a sandwich and Monster (a running joke was that we should have filmed an alternative vlog "Rate gas station food")

As i mentioned in the Part one, Rally cars drive on public roads going from one stage to another. We learned that before but both were a bit surprised and stunned by the first car we met on the road. 

Imagine driving on a narrow mountain road and just before the sharp bend a rally car in full speed shows in front of you. I can't say they don't drive safely but i can say they are in a hurry :)

Grégoire Munster - WRC Central European Rally
Grégoire Munster - WRC Central European Rally
Grégoire Munster - WRC Central European Rally
Grégoire Munster - WRC Central European Rally

As we were getting there the timing was thigh, will we get there on time. And we probably would. But there are things that you don't know when you are there for the first time. You got the ticket on your app, but that does not help you if you are in the middle of nowhere in the mountains and there is no mobile signal. Lucky my provider has roaming in EU so i had to get the E-sim (payed with HBD) so i had the option of picking all 3 of the providers. In the end it worked.

Important lesson, Make a screenshot of the QR code ticket.

Gus Greensmith - WRC Central European Rally
Gus Greensmith - WRC Central European Rally
Adrien Fourmaux - WRC Central European Rally
Adrien Fourmaux - WRC Central European Rally

And yes with all the time lost with the ticket, parking ticket, moving through the mud, we missed him. As we were standing there talking about it, a nice guy sitting in front of us (yes chairs are a pretty big thing for rally spectators) informed us in his Cech/Croatian language that we in deed miss it by 5 minutes. In consultation with the guy we made a decision to wait there for the next run (in 3 hours). The guy was a pro spectator, with a chair, all the timing and stages printed in the bag, you could see it is not his first time.

And yes they drive the same stage twice. They drive it once, move to another stage and then they are back to this one.

Central European Rally - Slaven Šekuljica - Photo by Honza Froně
Central European Rally - Slaven Šekuljica - Photo by Honza Froně

As our main goal was to get as much video of Slaven as we could, to publish right away, most of the photos of Hive Rally Car from the track are from Rally photographer Honza Froně. I was thinking of filming with my phone and taking pictures but there was a lack of hands.

Back to the rally. At least the rain stopped. I must say Friday is a bit of a blur in my brain, maybe because lack of sleep, or maybe because of all that long driving and waiting. 

They cancelled one of the stages because there were spectators on stage.

Martin Rossgatterer - WRC Central European Rally
Martin Rossgatterer - WRC Central European Rally

On our way to Passau Germany from Czech Republic we saw a police car stopping one of the rally cars. And found out something i would never guess.

You can be disqualified from a rally competition by the Police :) Some of the cars had problems with their license plates. And the solution that few picked was to get temporary German plates. But temporary German plates expire when you leave the country and the service park was in Passau Germany but the stages on Friday were in Czech Republic. So they had to leave Germany and come back at the end of the day. 

So they were disqualified by the Police. Or as WRC called it administrative problem.

Štěpán Vojtěch - WRC Central European Rally
Štěpán Vojtěch - WRC Central European Rally

Saturday started even earlier as the the start of the first stage was at 8AM. The rain from yesterday was gone and the sun was shining from early morning. The stage was not that far away from Passau (30 minutes drive), we had a lot of time to get there, and that did not help us. We kinda got lost :)

Missed something on the map and turned at the wrong spot, at least we were going at the right general direction :) And again we were in a race to get there on time.

WRC Central European Rally
WRC Central European Rally

What shows how on time we were is that this is the only photo i took from this stage :) I do have some videos and we did got there to catch Slaven, so i count it as a win.

Central European Rally - Slaven Šekuljica - Photo by Honza Froně
Central European Rally - Slaven Šekuljica - Photo by Honza Froně

The next stop was Regrouping and Service, Service-Park Passau. And a quick stop for food. So back to Passau.

Service Park was buzzing with people. All the cars go through the city with all the traffic aroun

Emil Lindholm - WRC Central European Rally
Emil Lindholm - WRC Central European Rally
Erik Cais - WRC Central European Rally
Erik Cais - WRC Central European Rally
Nicolas Ciamin - WRC Central European Rally
Nicolas Ciamin - WRC Central European Rally
Reeta Hämäläinen - WRC Central European Rally
Reeta Hämäläinen - WRC Central European Rally

One of the interesting/funny things was the guy that was instructing them where and how to park. It was interesting to me how the drivers followed his instruction with just watching him, no checking the mirrors, no looking around, just straight at him.

Adrien Fourmaux - Service-Park Passau
Adrien Fourmaux - Service-Park Passau
Sami Pajari - WRC Central European Rally
Sami Pajari - WRC Central European Rally

Duct Tape is the solution for most of the problems needed to solve on the road.

Filip Kohn and Tom Woodburn - Service-Park Passau
Filip Kohn and Tom Woodburn - Service-Park Passau
Tom Woodburn - Service-Park Passau
Tom Woodburn - Service-Park Passau

Racing stripes or Duct Tape?

Timo Weigert - Service-Park Passau
Timo Weigert - Service-Park Passau
Emil Lindholm and Reeta Hämäläinen Service-Park Passau
Emil Lindholm and Reeta Hämäläinen Service-Park Passau
Jara Hain - WRC Central European Rally
Jara Hain - WRC Central European Rally
Matteo Fontana and Alessandro Arnaboldi - Service-Park Passau
Matteo Fontana and Alessandro Arnaboldi - Service-Park Passau

And somewhere around this time we got the news that the screws holding the wheel on Hive Rally Car broke. So unfortunately that was all from them for the day.

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To the box area we go :) There is a lot of waiting for spectators in WRC :)

People that probably don't get enough credit in WRC. Mechanics. If there is a part that can be changed on the car, they will most probably do it in 15-20 minutes. What ever your mechanic tells you when your car brakes down is probably a lie :)

Check out the WRC - Central European Rally | Official Hive AFTERMOVIE

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 Quick interview with #WRC#centraleuropeanrally driver Slaven Šekuljica and his co-driver Damir Petrović in the box. They are talking about their experience during todays rally stages. 

Central European Rally - Hive Rally Car - Photo by Honza Froněk
Central European Rally - Hive Rally Car - Photo by Honza Froněk

Well i thought this will be a two part blog, but part 3 is needed :) Soon.

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