ADAC Rallye Deutschland will follow the WRC’s new live TV Power Stage concept pioneered in Sweden last weekend by finishing the final speed test inside the service park.
Rally Sweden climaxed on Sunday when the Torsby special stage ended on the edge of the service park. Competitors then drove a few hundred metres to the podium, in front of which hundreds of fans, journalists, team-mates and management had watched the test on big screens.
Television captured the Toyota team’s emotional celebrations as Jari-Matti Latvala claimed the Japanese manufacturer’s first win on only its second event since its comeback, before the formal podium ceremony just a few minutes later.
Traditionally the Power Stage podium was held in a more remote location at the stage finish, with few fans able to attend, before the rally podium later on.
Following positive feedback, August’s German round will follow a similar format. The Power Stage will end in the new Bostalsee service park before live television broadcasts interviews and podium presentations.
Toyota Gazoo Racing sporting director Jarmo Lehtinen watched the Torsby stage in front of the podium alongside team principal Tommi Mäkinen before welcoming Latvala back.
“It was fantastic for the team to celebrate a stunning result with Jari-Matti and the fans while emotions were still running high,” said Lehtinen. “The excitement became obvious to everyone in the service park and around the world on live television.”
“We’ve had comments from people within the sport, from Toyota bosses in Japan and from fans and the message is the same - they thought it was one of the best WRC podiums they’ve seen as it captured the emotions of all involved.”
Rally Sweden CEO Glenn Olsson said the new format immediately appealed to him.
“Holding the official podium inside our new Torsby service park made a visit even more attractive for fans. Ticket sales benefited from more people coming and we saw increased demand for hospitality,” he said.
“Only one ceremonial podium, in the middle of fans and teams and on live TV, worked for us economically and delivered good sport and great entertainment.”
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the response from broadcasters was extremely positive.
“Bringing the stars into the middle of the service park on the podium delighted the fans and also met our broadcast partners’ expectations when airing a WRC event,” he said.
“Early figures show a combined audience of more than 4 million tuned into the rally on TV2 in Norway and SVT in Sweden, and a large share of that came from the Power Stage programme, which now offers 90 minutes of thrilling action.”
Ciesla said it provided an additional attraction for fans in an area which will increasingly become a central venue for fan entertainment during WRC weekends.
“We imagine this as the new standard for how most WRC rallies could finish on a Sunday. ADAC has agreed to organise it like this again in Germany and we’re talking with other organisers to see if they can adopt this format,” he added.