Today’s most famous rally drivers will collect points for the World Rally Championship (WRC) from April 22 to 25 at the Croatia Rally. Croatia is the third stage in this year’s WRC calendar, and it will be driven on the local roads of Zagreb, Karlovac, and Krapina-Zagorje counties, and the City of Zagreb, reports GP1.
At today’s press conference, a detailed plan of all upcoming activities as part of the sports spectacle in Croatia for the first time was presented. The plan was presented by Daniel Šaškin, President of the Croatia Rally Organizing Committee, Davorin Štetner, President of the Croatian Car and Karting Association, Slaven Dedić, Director of Croatia Rally, and Željko Štefanić, director of the Croatia Rally competition. Support was also given by Tomislav Družak, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and Milan Pavelić, Head of the Zagreb City Office for Sports and Youth. WRC Director-General Jona Siebel also addressed the audience with a video message. The press conference was attended by Krešimir Šamija, Director of the Sports Directorate at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
“After years of preparation and thousands of hours of work, we have only 13 days left until the start of the World Rally Championship in Croatia. We are extremely proud and excited that today’s best drivers will race on our roads and that we have succeeded in our intention to make Croatia part of a top rally story that is watched by almost a billion spectators around the world every year. It is a great success that would not have happened without our partners and sponsors’ strong support, whom I thank from the bottom of my heart. It should be mentioned more than a thousand people will work hard to organize the largest sporting event in our country after many years. The eyes of the entire automotive world will be fixed on our country these few weeks, and I am sure that we will justify the trust of the FIA and the WRC Promoter,” said Daniel Šaškin.
The best crews in the world can expect a total of 300 kilometers of speed tests, which are characterized by narrow and winding roads with numerous passes. The Croatian stage of the World Rally Championship is characteristic because it is the first completely asphalt rally this season. Numerous changes to the asphalt surface will require teams to adjust vehicle settings and find optimal tires.
“By organizing this spectacle in challenging conditions, we will show that Croatia is a responsible partner for the world’s biggest events. With the strong support of primarily the City of Zagreb and other local government units, the Croatian police, firefighters, and other institutions, and of course, many Croatian automotive clubs, we are ready for the final step of the organization itself. In April 1906, 115 years ago, the First Croatian Automobile Club was founded – the predecessor of the Croatian Car and Karting Association, and we will mark this great anniversary during the WRC race. The most important people in world sports led by FIA President Jean Todt have announced their arrival in Croatia. Croatia is expecting incredible media promotion at the international level because hundreds of the world’s strongest media report on the event,” added Davorin Štetner.
A total of 68 crews have been confirmed for the Croatia Rally, and Croatia will have as many as seven representatives – Niko Pulić, Viliam Prodan, Martin Ravenščak, Krešimir Ravenščak, Ivica Siladić, Mateo Butorac, and Željko Magličić. It should be noted that Pulić is registered to compete in the elite WRC class, while other local representatives will drive in Rally4 vehicles with front-wheel drive.
Experts point out that among the favorites to win the Croatia Rally is Belgian Thierry Neuville, who is the best on asphalt. He will fight for the trophy with rally legend and seven-time world champion Sébastien Ogier. His performance was confirmed by Estonian Ott Tänak, who is currently fifth in the overall standings. The biggest surprise this season, the young 20-year-old Finn Kalle Rovanperä, leads in the overall standings after 4th place in Monte Carlo and 2nd at home in Finland.
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