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Thursday, February 2, 2023

January rally: A classic with legendary status

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On Wednesday, before the 36th January Rallye, the participating teams were busy with the last inspection drives and writing the “writing”, today in the Freistadt area things are happening one after the other. First the final test (9 a.m.) with the shakedown awaits, before the first special stage in Lasberg (16, live on ORF Sport+) the race opens on the main square (2.15 p.m.) before the state championship opener really picks up speed on Friday. This is the most important information before you start.

onlooker: Every rally fan knows Walter Röhrl. Germany’s legendary and only world rally champion from the 1980s, who turned 75 last year, will attend as a spectator. “This rally is a classic,” says the 14-time World Championship race winner.

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Special feature: It is quite strange that among the 96 starting teams from eight nations, 51 come from Upper Austria. And then there are two pairs of brothers: Philipp and Mario, the sons of “Local Hero” Ernst Haneder, plus state champion Simon and Mühlviertel winner 2019 Julian Wagner. Also noteworthy: There are 20 state-of-the-art Rally2 cars in the field alone. Unit price in each case: beyond 200,000 euros.

Comeback: 60 percent of the special stages are new, and a fast asphalt rally with treacherous sections on ice is expected on the 17 sections. One knows the route like no other: record champion Raimund Baumschlager, four-time winner here, is making a comeback 14 months after heart surgery. “I want to enjoy every kilometer and be thankful,” says the Rosenauer.

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special rating: In memory of the crowd hero Christof Klausner, who died in an accident and climbed up the Mühlviertel every year with his Audi Ur-Quattro, 16 participating teams will be chasing less fast times, but will choose the “Drift King”. Fans can vote online via the app, sponsor K4 is providing 1,500 euros in prize money.

return: The race generates added value of several million euros in the region. The really big rally world comes at the end of October, when for the first time a World Championship race takes place with all the top stars and the Mühlviertel becomes a playground for a day. 200,000 visitors are expected.

Schedule Rally

  • Thursday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: shakedown in Oberrauchenödt (2.67 km), 2.15 p.m.: official start at the main square in Freistadt, 4 p.m.: special stage 1 in Lasberg (9.14 km), 7 p.m.: driver presentation in the Freistadt exhibition hall.
  • Friday: 8/11.15 a.m.: SP 2/4 Pierbach (13.04 km), 8.35/11.50 a.m.: SP 3/5 Unterweißenbach (10.71 km), 9.41 a.m.: Regrouping Messehalle Freistadt, 13.05/16.25 p.m.: SP 6/9 Superspecial Freistadt (3.30 km), 1.17 p.m.: Regrouping Messehalle Freistadt, 3/6 p.m.: SP 7/10 Tannermoor Liebenau (8.97 km), 3.40/6.40 p.m.: SP 8/11 Schönau-St. Leonard (12.97 km).

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Dominik Feischl


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