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Fri 19 Jan 2024

ERC Take Five with Kornél Ory

Having staged the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship finale last October, Rally Hungary is gearing up to host the first event of the upcoming 2024 season, albeit from a new host city (Veszprém) and on a new surface (gravel).

The man in charge of ensuring it all goes to plan, chairman of the organising committee Kornél Őry, gave FIAERC.com an insight into just some of what’s in store from 12 - 14 April.  


What can people expect from the new-look Rally Hungary?
“Our new location is just north of Lake Balaton in the city of Veszprém with special stages all around, mostly in military areas. We will have tough gravel roads but they will be a mixture of gravel. When you go to Scandinavia or Poland, for example, you have a typical type of gravel. Around Veszprém we will have at least three different types of gravel and we believe that will make for a very exciting competition and a very good test for the tyre manufacturers. The military areas we will use are in open fields and this will give us the opportunity to prepare big spectator zones. Some stages will be in forests with more narrow roads so a very different feeling. Certainly, we believe it will be a big challenge for the drivers and people will really like the city of Veszprém. They are the host city, but they are also supporting the event in many ways, and we feel it is really the start of a very strong partnership between the event and the city.”



It's a new venue for Rally Hungary but will local drivers have previous knowledge of the stages?
“The basis of the rally is the Veszprém Rallye, which is named after the host city and the 2024 edition would have been the 30th Veszprém Rallye had it stayed just in the national championship. Most of the stages in some form have been used in the past 30 years but there are modifications to all the stages this year so there will be no identical stage from the past.”   



You’ve had the honour of hosting the ERC finale a few times but now you have the prestige of opening the new season when all eyes will be on your event. How important is that?
“We’ve been lucky to have the season-closing event and only once was the champion already crowned. But we still had exciting competition and even last year we had the Junior ERC and the ERC4 titles decided on our rally. The competition for the overall second place was also fierce. Opening the season brings a lot of excitement for the fans and for the competitors. We feel everybody is really preparing themselves from a technical point of view but also from a mental and physical point of view and we will enjoy a very competitive field where everything is possible. There are no results that will determine anything so all the drivers can come here with the hope to start the season right and to establish the ground for them to compete for the championships. This is very important for the number of entries but also for the quality of the entries as well.”



As well as hosting round one of the overall ERC, Rally Hungary is the first event of the Junior ERC season. What does that mean for you as an organiser?
“To be able to host Junior ERC was very important for us and when we were negotiating with WRC Promoter this was one of the key points that we insisted on. It was a critical point because for the Hungarian championship and the young talents in Hungary it’s very important to see these Junior ERC drivers as role models. Junior ERC is actually not too far away for them and it’s something they can easily relate to and connect with. Seeing Junior ERC coming to Hungary can help them with the step up to international competition.”  


You’ve always had a reputation for doing different things with stages – like the rallycross stage and city stage on Rally Hungary. Do you have anything special planned this year?
“Yes! We are planning a super special stage on the Friday night at a very exciting location, something that was used in the past in a different format. We are building up a super special stage not far from Veszprém which we believe will be one of the greatest additions to the rally. In that sense we can really bring the rally close to the fans, we are planning a big show with all the elements you could imagine to entertain our audience.”  


For more on Rally Hungary go to: https://rallyhungary.com/en/home/


Photos: Gergely Makai/Rally Hungary