With a yet-to-be dated free update, EA Sports WRC is going to add the penultimate round of the 2023 championship. But what can sim racers expect from the EA Sports WRC Central European Rally?
Launching with 17 locations, EA Sports WRC already exceeded the 13-round calendar of the 2023 World Rally Championship. The new-for-2023 Central European Rally is not among those – yet. The most recent update addressed some of the game’s issues, though bugs do still remain. Meanwhile, even before the game had launched, it was announced that the CER location would come later via a free update for everyone.
Based in Passau, Germany, the event saw drivers compete on stages in Germany, Austrian and Czechia. Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and his co-driver Martijn Wydhaege took the win at the first-ever Central European Rally. The duo managed to conquer the 311,79 kilometers (193,74 miles) of tarmac stages the fastest, pulling out a gap of almost a minute to Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen.
EA Sports WRC Central European Rally: Tricky Autumn Conditions
With a late-October date, the rally was expected to be tricky. Rain and wet, fallen leaves close to the track proved a challenge. Mud also did not help matters. Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm found out how treacherous the stages could be on Day 2. Dropping a wheel into the wet grass next to the road resulted in a crash and a DNF for the Finnish duo. Luckily, both were fine after the incident.
The EA Sports WRC Central European Rally should reflect this in order to capture the character of the event. Other locations do see leaves on the road in an autumn setting, but they do not seem to influence the driving much. This needs to be different in the upcoming CER in the game – otherwise, it might risk being just another tarmac rally.
This is especially true in stage sections that are surrounded by woods, as they tend to dry much slower due to getting less sunlight. One such section even caught out double World Champion Rovanperä on Day 3. The Finn misjudged an abrupt chicane and was lucky to have an unpaved access road as an exit available. Still, their second-place finish meant that they won the 2023 title.
Most of the stages went over small country roads, passing the odd village here and there. So this should set the stage for the EA Sports WRC Central European Rally for the most part. With the start of the event being held in Prag, however, it should be interesting to see if EA actually incorporates part of the city.
Fast, Flowing, Forest?
As for the pace of the stages, expect a mix of fast, flowing turns and twisty, tight sections. The longest stage of the event took place between Maleč and Tažovice in Czechia for Special Stages 4 and 7. Drivers had to keep their concentration up for 23,86 kilometers, passing through multiple villages along the way. A forest section of roughly 3 kilometers close to Maleč should prove to be very fast.
Should EA and Codemasters decide to faithfully recreate this stage, this should result in an exciting, but treacherous bit of road. Another candidate would be the long stage between Salaberg and Peilstein im Mühlviertel, which provides a less rural setting overall. This was the setting for SS 10 and 13. You can find an interactive map with all 2023 CER stages on rally-maps.com.
What are your expectations for the EA Sports WRC Central European Rally? What stage would you love to see in its virtual recreation? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!