The fourth event of Hungary championship in which Mads Ostberg finally celebrated the victory
The Hungarian Rally Championship reached its middle point last weekend. This year, the Hungarians are returning to their usual calendar with at least 7-8 events. Although last year, when a lot of the championships did not take place at all – this country managed to organize as many as 6, one of which was stopped due to the death of one of the participants in the special stage.
The Mecsek Rally is one of the most famous in the country, so it attracts a large number of participants who compete in various championships. This year, this rally entered the calendar of various Hungarian championships, the Mitropa Cup, and the historic European Rally Championship. The event took place in the southern part of the country, near the Croatian border. The race started on Friday night in the 18km speed range. Later, the whole action moved to Saturday, where three rather slippery asphalt speed sections were waiting, which were driven three times. Total mileage 137 kilometers.
As for the Hungarian championship, the fastest locals like A.Hadik, M.Csoma, A.Velenczei, or F.Turan were joined by some very fast guests. Norwegian Mads Ostberg involves in the championship and improves Citroen C3 Rally2 between WRC rounds. Anyway, Mads was supposed to be in the WRC stage in Kenya, but due to complicated logistics and constraints on returning from a central African country, the Norwegian was doing his kilometers in Hungary. And anyway, from the WRC2 squad, only M.Prokop reached Kenya. Another famous guest is Jan Kopecky, a Czech who tasted WRC bread and expanded his program this year to Hungary. Earlier this year, N.Gryazin strayed into one of the stages, and Mescsek was visited by multiple Polish and Slovak champion G.Grzyb.
From the third attempt, the victory in Hungary was finally achieved by M. Ostberg. After the incident in Sardinia, when uncensored talk about Pirelli’s during a live broadcast took all the points he earned, this weekend was a real refreshment for a Norwegian. He even gave away one of his tracksuits to those people who paid the FIA fine for Mads swearing. And the compensation for the fine was arranged by the Estonian G. Kruuda. In earlier stages, the Norwegian was haunted by various problems, but this time nothing prevented Mads from showing his true pace, and from the very first special stage he left no hope to his colleagues. On the other hand, the fight for the rest podium positions was intense.
With the last three special stages remaining, M. Ostberg had almost a half-minute lead, so he just kept his pace until others fought for the remaining podium positions. F. Turan, A. Hadik, G. Grzyb, and R. Butor applied for them. This quartet fitted in 20 seconds. In the end, the trio was completed by A. Hadik and G. Grzyb. This happened because F. Turan had an accident in the 9th special stage, and R. Butor, who was nominally second, after the finish of the last special stage, voluntarily withdrew from the race. And he had a good enough reason for that.
It is usually very rare to see the current generation of WRCs in the hands of private individuals. The only exception is the M-Sport team, which immediately sells its WRC cars, but that’s their survival model. But Toyota, Hyundai or Citroen do not support this policy. And usually, only after some years when the technology is already well advanced, factory teams are giving the opportunity to buy their older WRC cars. But the Citroen C3 WRC, marked with a #20 chassis number, broke that order. The 2019 S.Ogier car, last year with the same M.Ostberg and A.Mikelsen partially participated in the Sardinian Rally as a Pirelli demonstration car with which the Italian manufacturer tested its tires before the 2021 season. And here the story of this car continues. C3 WRC appeared in the hands of Robert Butor and took part in the Mecsek Rally last weekend. With the car far superior to the rivals, Robert withdrew from the race after finishing the final leg, as he promised. At the same time, it gives hope that perhaps more Citroen C3 WRC cars will spread around the world.
Another interesting thing in Hungary is the love for Lada cars. There they started in this rally 10. And they drive there fast. The fastest from the VFTS jumped to 23rd place in the overall standings. They are also competing in the Hungary Challenge 2WD standings together with Ford Escort, Honda Civic, Škoda Fabia, or BMW cars. But those ten cars are not a big number. There were actually more of them.
Another 14 Lada units participated in the Historic Mecsek Rally. It’s the same race, on the same roads, on the same weekend, at the same time. The only difference is that on Friday night, as the only special stage was driven twice by historic cars, while the crews of the main championship – only once. And some of those Lada cars competed not only in Hungary Historic class but also in the historic European Rally Championship. So it was possible to see cars even older than the Lada VFTS in the Pecs area. In the south of the country, asphalt was run by Audi Quattro, Porsche 911 SC, Opel Kadett GT, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, and other historical exhibits. The first three places were occupied by German technology. Andrea “Zippo” Zivian with Audi Quatrro celebrated the victory by almost two minutes. Behind him were two Porsche 911 SCs.
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Photos – Bitto Zsolt