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Central Europe Rally Special-Newssection (1st round Dakar-Series 2008)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Central Europe Rally 2008, the first round of the new Dakar-Series. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Central Europe Rally: Race-Director David Castera with Rally-News.

Back from a trip to Hungary and Romania, where he carried out a series of reconnaissance visits for the first Central Europe Rally, The event’s sporting director David Castera is already pleased with the diversity of the grounds. The event’s sports director is already pleased with the diversity of the area.

David Castera, what was the reason for your trip, and what news do you have to report from Central Europe?

We needed to touch base with our Hungarian and Romanian partners to be sure that everything will be done to welcome the competitors on the day. So we reviewed every aspect, from sporting issues (how to split up each stage, the number of kilometres, road-book, etc.) to the logistics (welcome structures for the assistance parks, the press rooms, etc.). I am delighted with what I saw there, and in particular, I am pleasantly surprised by the details of the route.

What do competitors who are preparing for this inaugural event have to look forward to?

Following checks in the magnificent Hungarian capital, there will be two broad configurations which are noticeably different from each other. On the Hungarian section, we will have some very fast tracks almost every day as well as one day on sand. The terrain there is pretty hard and rocky: it’s like what we’re used to seeing in Morocco, but less brittle. I was also able to check that in the plains, we always take tracks that water can flow from which restricts the risk of getting stuck in a bog. In Romania, the terrain changes because the region where we’re going is undulating. The rally will even reach a high point of 1200 metres. The main thing is that the route ventures onto forest tracks are quite smooth. The expert drivers should pull out of these stages.

Do you already have a feel what kind of driver would feel at ease on this rally?

It's varied enough for everyone to enjoy. In any case, it's clear that those who want to make the distance will have to be physically fit because it's a packed programme. The specials are short but they will be very demanding in terms of concentration. Over seven days of racing, you need to be able to manage your input to avoid any nasty surprises.

Some days only after the opening of the registrations, many professional pilots decided to take part on the Central Europe Rally. The whole official team KTM will be there and the battle promises to be intense between Cyril Despres (FRA), Marc Coma (ESP), David Casteu (FRA), Frans Verhoeven (HOL), Francisco Lopez (CHI) who wants to shine before receiving the Dakar Rally in his country, Jordi Viladoms (ESP) and Gerard Farres (ESP). David Fretigne could perturb the hierarchy and get involved in the battle for the conquest of the victory on this Central Europe Rally first edition.

Following the reconnaissance visits undertaken last week by David Castera, here is some useful advice that he is keen to give you as you prepare your vehicles.

Motorbikes / Quads:

The biggest change affecting motorbikes and quads prepared for the Dakar 2008 concerns the tank. The 250 kms of autonomy needed on the Dakar will be reduced to 180 kms on the Central European Rally. The rear tank can therefore be removed, making the machines lighter.
Although ‘desert’ tyres may get you through, ‘baja-cross’ tyres will help you achieve better performance.
With regard to safety, Sentinel and a GPS are compulsory. Our supplier E.R.T.F. will provide you with ‘four points assistance’ for the GPS. Hire is included in the file costs for anyone who entered the Dakar 2008.
Neither an Iritrack nor a water tank will be needed.
And don’t forget to take your Camel Back !

Cars / Trucks:

Preparation of cars and trucks carried out for the Dakar 2008 will be perfectly fine for the Central Europe Rally 2008. To lighten from the vehicles, tools for digging out of the sand (plates and spades) can be removed.

Satellite telephone or mobile compulsory on the course. For safety reasons, all racing competitors must be equipped with a satellite telephone satellite or a mobile phone.

Time difference: Romania is one hour ahead of Western Europe. We will keep the Hungarian schedule throughout the race. It will then be the same time on the Central Europe Rally as in Paris.


In Hungary, the currency is the Hungarian Forint. In Romania, they use the Leu.
Rates of exchange are as follows :
1 Euro - 250 Hungarian Forints
1 Euro - 3.5 Lei

Accommodation reminder:

Racing Competitors' hotel rooms will be organised by our administration for the nights of 18, 19 and 26 April 2008. "Welcome to Hungaria", the Hungarian travel agency with which the ASO is in constant contact, will be able to provide you with accommodation options for all the other nights (racing and assistance vehicles). Visit the official website at [ ].

Competitors who entered the Dakar 2008 can enjoy free entry fees by entering the Central Europe Rally before 1 March. If you do not have an annual licence, don't forget to contact your federations.

2008/02/28 | 19:17 CET | Editor: MR/HS/ASO

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