After a one-year hiatus the European Rally Championship field gets together in Hungary for the fourth time now. The season closing round of the ERC series, celebrating its 70th anniversary, is organised in Nyíregyháza and around on 6-8 October. A press conference was held in the county seat on Thursday.

Spectacular Super Special stage at Rabócsiring, special stage in downtown Nyíregyháza, fierce battle in Zemplén Mountains – these are the cornerstones of Rally Hungary to be held on 6-8 October. Although the European Championship title has already been decided (Hayden Paddon of New Zealand has clinched it), this rally determines who will join the winner on the podium and who will be crowned as the junior European Champion.

There is no shortage of home drivers, not just because the race is part of the national championship, but because permanent or former Hungarian competitors of the series will also be there at the start in Nyíregyháza, such as Miklós Csomós, Bendegúz Hangodi, Patrik Herczig or Martin László.

The aim of the European Championship continues to be to give young talents aspiring to the pinnacle of the sport, WRC, the chance to test their speed and gain international experience in a prestigious international field.

Since last year, WRC Promoter GmbH has been responsible for promoting this series, which secures the same media presence and coverage as the World Championship. The Hungarian rally is the last of four tarmac races of the year besides four gravel races.

At Thursday’s press conference first, the guests were greeted by dr Ferenc Kovács, Mayor of Nyíregyháza, which hosts not only the headquarter of the race, but the city special stage as well:

“Nyíregyháza and its citizens are looking forward to race, which is one of 22 sport events organized in the town this year” dr Ferenc Kovács said. “It is a pleasure that the ERC field returns to our country after a one-year hiatus, and an honour for us that Nyíregyháza can host the event again. I am convinced that the organizers have chosen us for a reason, and besides that the geographical environment provides a perfect setting to a tarmac race, motorsport has a long tradition in our town, people love rally, which is getting more and more popular. We believe that the race will have tourism benefits, as many people are expected to come to Nyíregyháza and hopefully return to another sport or cultural event.”

HUMDA Hungarian Mobility Development Agency is the local promoter of the race, and its president, Balázs Weingartner has also accepted the invitation to the first press conference of this year’s race in Nyíregyháza.

“Rally is one of the most spectacular and fan-friendly disciplines, therefore I consider it as a huge diplomatic success, that after a one-year hiatus ERC returns to Hungary” Balázs Weingartner said. “It has many advantages, if there is a Hungarian round in more and more major international series. It not only strengthens our position in the motorsport world map, but increases the occupancy rate of accommodation and boosts the tourism in Hungary. Organizing the race itself generates economic benefits and fiscal revenue. Thanks to the various media platforms the races reach more than 10 million viewers around the world, and the coverage has positive impact thus improving the image of the country. And last but not least, the outcome of roadworks and constructions made for the race will be enjoyed by the local citizens and tourists alike in the future.”

Rally Hungary 2020, RabócsiRing - Fotó: MGR Images

According to Zsolt Hoffer, Head of Rally discipline in ASN, it is very important to have our European Championship race back, and Rally Hungary is valuable not only from sport, but touristic point of view as well.

“It is essential that internationally recognized experts and competitors take parts in ERC, from whom young people can learn a lot and even be role models for them” Zsolt Hoffer said. “The interest from the neighbouring countries is amazing, and Nyíregyháza has already proved several times that it could be a perfect host to this race. So, not only the race but also the city’s reputation is spread around the world by the rally drivers and the fans arriving from all over the world. It is important to me that we organize not only a good race, but a good and safe race in cooperation with the spectators, which will, of course, have its own special attractions, such as the city special stage here. Spectators can experience up close what the rally drivers are capable of, some lucky fans just walk out of their house to do it. We believe this is how we can get the sport closer to young and old alike.”

President of the Organizing Committee, Kornél Őry highlighted how good the relationship with the local authorities and municipality was, how helpful they were and how much they supported the successful organization of the event, as well as the sponsors, including Tippmix.

“ERC field returns to our country for the fourth time after a one-year of absence, and it is a huge honour for us. On the other side, after last year’s successful bid now we are working with a new promoter, who is responsible for WRC, too” Kornél Őry said. “Our cooperation works very well, which is positive for the future. The most important information on this year’s Rally Hungary is that each of the three days has a highlight, which everyone is warmly welcome to attend: on Friday it is the Super Special stage in Rabócsiring, on Saturday the city stage in Nyíregyháza, and on Sunday the iconic Mád–Disznókő stage, which is a power stage this year. Based on the guidelines of the new promoter service park will be one of the main venues of the race, where spectators will be able to watch live broadcast and interviews constantly. So, the hustle and bustle will definitely be bigger, and it is good to know, that admission is free there. It will be located at the Tokaj Road market in Nyíregyháza. Along with us the new promoter also aims to send the message of rally sport to as many people as possible.”

Rally Hungary 2020, Mád - Fotó: MGR Images

Miklós Csomós and Viktor Bán finished second in Barum Rally, the latest ERC race, and they won Győr Rally in the national championship last week, so we can say, they are on a good run before Rally Hungary.

“The last two races boosted our spirit and confidence, so we are in a good mood now and looking forward to Rally Hungary” Csomós said. “We would definitely like to have a test before the race, it’s not like I do not know the stages, because I live in the neighbourhood and I have raced a lot here. We have a good set-up and on-board camera footages, and we hope, that the weather will be kind to us, especially that the race is organised a few weeks earlier than usual. I think we will get more attention now due to our second place in Barum Rally and we will be expected to prove ourselves in our home round. I hope, we will succeed, fingers crossed. Our main goal is to step on the podium, which is not easy, because there is a huge battle for the season-ending podium places, and all the top guys are here in Nyíregyháza. It will be a tough race, but I am looking forward to it, and I hope there will be a lot of spectators around.”