Nikolay Gryazin won the Rally Hungary based on the results of the timekeeping, but he was hit by a 15-minute penalty issued by the stewards following the prize-giving ceremony for not stopping at the accident of Norbert Herczig. This means that the points for the win went to Mads Ostberg, who is the reigning Hungarian champion. The Hungarian round of the FIA European Rally Championship also saw the crowning of a European Champion, with Andreas Mikkelsen finishing seventh and securing his European title a week after winning the WRC2 World Championship.
“My goal at the start of the season was to win the championship, so I’m very happy,” said the 32-year-old Norwegian driver, whose co-driver is Elliott Edmondson.
“I knew I was in for a tough year because the field was so thick, but we had a very good year, we raced smart and always scored as many points as we needed. It’s one of the highlights of my career to have won this championship. It was not easy, but I believed in the team, in Toksport WRT, and Škoda worked very well. It’s been an amazing year; I can honestly say that before the start I thought it would be much harder to win ERC races than World Championship races. And it was. The pace of these guys is very strong, you really have to push your limits to win here.”
The big loser of the day was the duo of Norbert Herczig and Ramón Ferencz, who turned into the final day in second place in the ERC standings but slid off the road not far from the finish of the first stage, the co-driver was injured, and the pair were forced to retire from the race.
“The road was condensed, and the white tarmac was sliding like ice – several people went off there,” said Herczig. “The car skidded on the brakes; it was as if the ground had been pulled out from under it. There were no signs of trouble beforehand, Ramón was not even prepared for the accident. We hit each other, he has broken/chipped six ribs, I have bruises and my side hurts, but I’m still waiting for the results of the medical examination. Ironically, my son crashed out on the same bend, even though I called him from the ambulance to pay close attention to that tight bend. One consolation is that our pace was good. I hope that Ramón will recover as soon as possible, thank you for the support of the Hungarian crowd.”
It was Mads Ostberg, this year’s Hungarian championship contender, who took the win – the Citroën driver didn’t get away without a puncture, but he didn’t give up, setting an amazing pace and working his way back.
“When we didn’t have any problems, we were quite fast and never gave up for a moment. It was a good and difficult race, we tried to enjoy it,” Ostberg said at the finish.
Despite the race win, the “Viking” remained third in the Hungarian championship standings, with András Hadik taking the title – for the fourth time. For a long time Hadik was in third place in the ERC standings, but in the final stage he was overtaken by Poland’s Marko Marczyk, but he didn’t mind, as for him the Hungarian title was the most important thing. Especially as he was able to reclaim his ERC podium position afterwards.
“Today the plan was to go sensibly, and as a result I was so cautious that we were even a danger to ourselves at times,” said Hadik. We had a good race, I think Rally Hungary is the most difficult event in Hungary, and the fact that so many of you struggled, proves it. But of course, we are also very happy.”
Javier Pardo has contested five rounds and has five race wins in the ERC2 category with his Suzuki Swift Rally2. Sami Pajari battled it out with teammate Jon Armstrong for the ERC3/ERC3 Junior category win, with the Finn emerging victorious. Dariusz Polonski scored his fifth race win in the Abarth Rally Cup. Paulo Soria won the Hungarian round of this year’s debut Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT series, while Andrea Mabellini took the championship title in this category.