Rally Hungary will be one of the highlights of the year
Rally Hungary will again be one of the highlights of the year for motorsport fans: a field, full of world champions, will arrive in the Nyíregyháza region this weekend, where the Hungarian championship title will be decided, and it might happen that the European Championship title is also be decided here.
If it’s autumn, this must be Rally Hungary, if it’s Rally Hungary, this must be Nyíregyháza. Europe's best rally drivers will race against each other during the upcoming weekend in the Zemplén area. Andreas Mikkelsen, last year’s winner of Rally Hungary, will come to the race as the leader of the overall standing and the newly crowned WRC2 world champion. The press conference of the event was held on Tuesday in the Town Hall of Nyíregyháza.
‘It is a great pleasure for us to welcome the European Championship field again, we have been present at this level since 2019 and we would like to stay here’, said Tünde Szabó, Minister of State for Sport. ‘The government supports hosting the European Rally Championship until 2023, and we, here in Nyíregyháza, are very proud to greet these great drivers, but, of course, our hearts are of the Hungarians. Certainly, the race is not only of interest of sport but also of tourism and economy - it is an invaluable asset for the whole region.’
HUMDA, the Hungarian Motorsport Development Agency, joined the event as a promoter earlier this year. László Lázár, Communications Director, highlighted that as rally was the most popular discipline, they had no other goal than to secure the place of the Hungarian event in the calendar for many years to come. And added that it had not only relevance for sport, but might raise the awareness of the tourism in the region.
Dr. Ferenc Kovács, Mayor of Nyíregyháza, said that both Nyíregyháza and the local citizens were looking forward to the race, which was already part of the city's programme offer. ‘We started with a national championship race, but it was already a candidate for the European Championship, of which we have been members for two years now. Technical sports have a long tradition in the city, people love rally and the popularity of the sport is continuously growing according to the feedback. Everyone wins with this event.’
Gyárfás Oláh, president of the Hungarian National Motorsport Association, added that when he had taken over the helm at the association in 2015, he had been aimed to put the country on the international motorsport map, and this work was going well, it was particularly a great pleasure that we had drivers who were competing with the top international competitors. ‘I used to say that where there is love for rally, rally drivers love racing, and now we can say that rally has found a home in our country and our place in the calendar has been strengthened’, said Gyárfás Oláh, ‘We don't get this kind of love and support everywhere, and the stages are beautiful. We hope that there will be many spectators along the stages and that we can celebrate Hungarian successes at the end of the race.’
Tamás Őry, Managing Director of Truck Race Promotion emphasized that in the previous year they were happy to be able to organise the race despite the difficult pandemic situation, for which the international promoter Eurosport Events was very grateful, too, and now finally there could be spectators along the stages without restrictions, so everything was in place for a good race. ‘The Superspecial in Mariapócs on Friday evening is already an integral part of the programme, as is the beautiful Mád stage, or the city stage in Nyíregyháza, which will take place on Sunday morning this year’ Őry said. ‘The strongest European Championship field ever is coming to our country with three world champions, and it is very important that there are Hungarian drivers as well in the top level: Norbert Herczig and Ramón Ferencz are in the fight for the end-of-the-year podium."
Frigyes Turán, the 2019 Rally Hungary winner represented the drivers at the press conference, who, two years ago, won the European Championship race on the last stage with a heroic fight and a bit of luck. It was one of the most difficult events of his life.
‘I competed in the World Championship for a few years, and I have had many years of experience at home, too, but Rally Hungary 2019 was the most difficult event of my life,’ said Turán. ‘Now we had a test on Monday, we're mentally and physically prepared for the weekend and we're looking forward to competing again with the best in Europe. We will be driving through beautiful scenery, we hope that there will be a lot of spectators and we can’t wait the start. We'll try to keep up with our foreign rivals."
At the press conference, it was announced that the local hero, Norbert Kiss, who has just won the European Truck Racing Championship title with Révész Racing, will also take his part in the rally, the spectators can see him at the Rabócsiring on Friday and the city stage on Sunday.