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BAUMHOLDER, Germany — One of the world’s premier auto-racing events is coming to Baumholder this weekend.

Some of the world’s best rally racing will be just steps from H.D. Smith Barracks, home to the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade and Division Artillery.

Germany’s round of the World Rally Championship will be held at several locations in the region, including at Range 35 on the training area adjacent to H.D. Smith Barracks, said Henning Wünsch, one of the original organizers of the Baumholder event.

On Saturday, “your community will be able to walk out the [north tank trail gate] to the racing,” Wünsch said, adding that the Baumholder segment — mostly on asphalt — is one of the most exciting segments.

The OMV-ADAC Rallye event begins Thursday under the Porta Nigra, Trier’s famous Roman gate. Then, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, racers compete in on-road and off-road timed segments at sites across the region, from St. Wendel in the south to Monzel to the north, finishing in Trier on Sunday.

Most of the action is less than an hour’s drive from U.S. military communities near Ramstein and Kaiserslautern.

Top rally teams from Peugeot, Citroen, Ford, Toyota, Subaru and other manufacturers are competing here for points that count toward the world championship. Racers coming this weekend include three-time world champion Sebastian Loeb, of France, in a Citroen Xsara.

Each rally car costs at least 500,000 euros (about $614,000) to build, and far more to campaign around the world, from Cypress to New Zealand, Wünsch said. Citroen, Peugeot, Subaru and Mitsubishi have the strongest teams, he said.

About 80,000 people are expected to come from Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium, Switzerland and all of central Europe, Wünsch said. “This is the most important event in Central Europe.”

About 400 German police also will be on hand to help with traffic and crowd control, he said.

Americans generally aren’t familiar with rally racing, with only minor events in the United States, Wünsch said.

Ticket prices for the weekend range from 10 euros to 15 euros (about $12 to $18), with children under 12 free. There is a ticket hot line at: 0-1805-960-960. For more information, go to http://www.vgv-baumholder.de/english/rally/index _rally.htm.

The city of Baumholder also is having an Altstadt Fest, or Old Town Festival, in conjunction with the race, “part of a big, big party,” Wünsch said. “It’s a good mixture of sport and fun.”


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