The World Rally Championship resumes this week with a new event: Rally Croatia. It’s the first 100% tarmac rally of the season and a proper one with 300 kilometres against the clock. Here is your quick preview.
The Zagreb based event gets underway tomorrow morning at 9:01. Medvedgrad shakedown is a 4.6 kilometre long stage just outside the capital of Croatia.
On Friday, the action starts for real. A loop of four stages will be run twice. All stages combined give just under 100 competitive kilometres.
Saturday is the longest day of the event. Just like Friday, a total of 8 stages are scheduled, covering over 120 kilometres. Sunday consist of just four stages. The deciding Power Stage is 14 kilometres long.
Croatia Rally entry list
Adrien Fourmaux will make his WRC-debut with M-Sport this weekend. M-Sport bring an engine upgrade to Croatia in a bid to be more competitive against Toyota and Hyundai. Teemu Suninen is in Croatia, but will be driving a Ford Fiesta Rally2 in the WRC2. The Finn will be joined by M-Sport’s latest WRC2 recruit Tom Kristensson.
Craig Breen makes his first appearance for Hyundai in a tarmac rally on WRC-level. Breen drove the i20 Coupé WRC at last year’s Aarova Rally in Belgium, albeit in very different conditions in comparison with this weekend.
There are no big surprises in the WRC entry list with all regular stars present in Zagreb.
2020 WRC2-champion Mads Østberg starts his title defence in Croatia this weekend. Just like last year, the Norwegian is will be driving with the Citroën C3 Rally2. In WRC3 we see the entry of 2019 ERC-champion Chris Ingram. The 26-year-old Brit starts his full WRC3 programma this weekend.
In Croatia we will see the 2021 JWRC drivers for the first time. Eight Ford Fiesta Rally4 are on the entry list for this weekend.
Kalle Rovanperä leads the championship for the first time in this career. Which means that the young Finn will be first on the road on Friday. Thierry Neuville is second in the standings, four points behind Rovanperä. Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans both have 31 points, 4 less than Neuville. Arctic Rally Finland winner Ott Tänak is fifth in the championship with 27 points.
Itinerary WRC Croatia Rally
All times are local: CEST.
Thursday, April 22
09:01 Shakedown Medvedgrad – 4.6 km
Friday, April 23
08:39 SS1 Rude – Plešivica 1 – 6.94 km
09:32 SS2 Kostanjevac – Petruš Vrh 1 – 23.76 km
10:35 SS3 Jaškovo – Mali Modruš Potok 1 – 10.10 km
11:38 SS4 Pećurkovo Brdo – Mrežnički Novaki – 19.11 km
13:28 Service A (Zagreb Fair, Zagreb)
15:01 SS5 Rude – Plešivica 2 – 6.94 km
15:54 SS6 Kostanjevac – Petruš Vrh 2 – 23.76 km
16:57 SS7 Jaškovo – Mali Modruš Potok 2 – 10.10 km
18:00 SS8 Pećurkovo Brdo – Mrežnički Novaki 2 – 19.11 km
19:50 Flexi-Service B (Zagreb Fair, Zagreb)
Saturday, April 24
07:16 Service C (Zagreb Fair, Zagreb)
08:29 SS9 Mali Lipovec – Grdanjci 1 – 20.30 km
09:17 SS10 Stojdraga – Gornja Vas 1 – 20.77 km
10:10 SS11 Krašić – Vrškovac 1 – 11.11 km
11:08 SS12 Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa 1 – 8.78 km
12:51 Service D (Zagreb Fair, Zagreb)
14:29 SS13 Mali Lipovec – Grdanjci 2 – 20.30 km
15:17 SS14 Stojdraga – Gornja Vas 2 – 20.77 km
16:10 SS15 Krašić – Vrškovac 2 – 11.11 km
17:08 SS16 Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa 2 – 8.78 km
18:28 Flexi-Service E (Zagreb Fair, Zagreb)
Sunday, April 25
06:32 Service F (Zagreb Fair, Zagreb)
07:20 SS17 Bliznec – Pila 1 – 25.20 km
08:38 SS18 Zagorska Sela – Kumrovec 1 – 14.09 km
10:21 SS19 Bliznec – Pila 2 – 25.20 km
13:18 SS20 Zagorska Sela – Kumrovec 2 Power Stage – 14.09 km
Follow the rally
Photo: Twitter @thierryneuville