Less than a month remains until the start of the Croatia Rally, the third race of the World Rally Championship. The itinerary of the competition has been minimally shortened, two Super Special speed exams will not be held at the Zagreb Fair, but the race still remains extremely attractive. The best crews in the world in Croatia expect twenty speedsters in the area of Zagreb and Zagreb, Karlovac and Krapina-Zagorje counties. The competition will start with a ceremonial start in front of the National and University Library in Zagreb on April 22nd and will last until April 25th when the crews are expected to finish at Zagreb’s St. Mark’s Square.
“We hoped until the last moment and believed that we would be able to organize speeds at the Fair. But the epidemiological situation did not go our way. These are exams that would gather a larger number of people in a small space, and part of the exams would be driven inside the pavilion, so it would be difficult or impossible to maintain an epidemiological gap. The health of all participants is our number one priority and we decided to shorten the itinerary. The rest of the competition will be held according to the scheduled schedule “, emphasized the President of the Organizing Committee of the Croatia Rally Daniel Šaškin.
Despite the shortening of the route, Croatia Rally remains the first competition with more than 300 kilometers of speed tests after the Rally Catalunya – Costa Daruda 2019. Satisfied with what was seen in Croatia during last week’s inspection of locations were the FIA and WRC delegates. They consider the fact that the rally is coming to a big city like Zagreb to be a big plus, where, in addition to the service, there will also be locations for the ceremonial start and finish. Also, they assessed the speed exams as attractive and challenging.
“What makes us extremely happy are the applications and it is already clear that all WRC stars will be driving in Croatia, who will be fighting for important championship points at our speeds. Conceptually, after shortening the Croatia Rally route, it did not change significantly. Only the location will not be driven at the Fair, near the service parking lot, and all other locations outside Zagreb will remain as planned. Friday and Saturday are reserved for speeds in the Samobor hills, Žumberak and Karlovac area, while on Sunday they will drive across Sljeme and in the vicinity of Kumrovec “, said the director of the rally Slaven Dedić.
Croatia Rally will score points for WRC, WRC-2, WRC-3 and Junior WRC. The big fight will be in all classes, and currently leading in the strongest category is 20-year-old Finn Kalle Rovampera, a Toyota driver. Second place is held by Belgian Thierry Neuville from Hyundai, while third is the seven-time world champion, Frenchman Sebastien Ogier from Toyota. It is expected that the teams in Croatia will present the latest evolutions of cars for the first time, because in the first two competitions of the season due to wet and snowy conditions they did not need the maximum potential of competition vehicles.
The organizers still hope that the spectacle will not pass without spectators.
“In Estonia last year, the authorities allowed the WRC competition to be held with the public in specially designated zones. I believe that something similar could be organized in Croatia. We have 150 kilometers of trails, which potentially offer viewing from the left and right sides of the road. There is no shortage of space to keep the epidemiological gap, and we have prepared special COVID protocols. They will have to be adhered to by all participants, officials and spectators if they are allowed to come. For those who will not be able to be by the track, there are broadcasts on Croatian Radio and Television that I believe will have a large audience, “concluded Saskin.
The specificity of Croatia Rally speed tests are narrow and winding roads with many passes. They are also characterized by numerous asphalt changes, so one of the key things before the start will be finding a good car tuning. Asphalt tires from Pirelli, a new supplier for the WRC, will have their premiere in Croatia, which will be another challenge for competitors and teams.
All information about the sports spectacle that arrives in Croatia in April can be found on the official website rally-croatia.com and on the official channels on social networks on Facebook – Croatia Rally and Instagram – Croatia Rally.
World Rally Championship vrhunski je sportski događaj, koji donosi simbiozu visoke tehnologije i vještine vozača. Riječ je o dramatičnoj utrci gdje je svaka desetinka sekunde važna što od posade zahtijeva maksimalnu koncentraciju i preciznost. Beskompromisno nadmetanje objedinjuje brzinu, tehnologiju i pouzdanost vodećih svjetskih proizvođača automobila, praćenu uigranim momčadima predvođenim najboljim svjetskim vozačima kojima pomažu hladne glave i smireni glasovi najsposobnijih suvozača svijeta. WRC je globalni izazov kojeg karakteriziraju hrabrost, strast, izdržljivost i mogućnost konstantne prilagodbe stalnim izmjenama okoline i nepredvidivosti uvjeta za vožnju.
(Photo Uros Modlic)