Entries to the Central Europe Rally have come in thick and fast after the first international rally to receive the new ASO Dakar Series certification was confirmed. Paris to Dakar rivals will be expected to renew their old fierce rivalries throughout 3000
The new Dakar Series label has gone off to a good start, recording a great deal of entries ahead of the label’s first race of the year, Central Europe Rally between 20 – 26 April 2008. According to the ASO, “Dakar Series certification will be given to other races that offer the same high organisation and safety standards, strong participation and media attention as the legendary Dakar. With the Central Europe Rally, the aim of A.S.O. is to enable the competitors of the Dakar, which was cancelled on 2008, to enter a new rally with some extremely advantageous conditions and offer their sponsors exposure in a major international event.”
The format for the C.E.R. is unprecedented, and will take place in two countries, Hungary and Romania, covering a distance of about 3,000km/ 4,828 miles. Around half of it will be run in special stages.
Entry forms have been received from Bruno Saby, Guerlain Chicherit and Nasser Al Attiyah for the BMW X-Raid team, Jean-Louis Schlesser for the blue buggy, and Robby Gordon for the HUMMER. What many will be most looking forward to of course, is the mini-war between Mitsubishi’s Stéphane Peterhansel, Alphand and Roma, against Volkswagen’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz and South African Giniel De Villiers.
The year 2009 of course sees “Dakar Rally” back on the scene but at a completely new venue, a 9,000km loop that begins and ends in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Mass media around will be able to watch the C.E.R. via satellite, beamed by networks such as France Television, South Africa’s Supersport, Eurosport and Fox Sport International in South America.