HRT reports that this year, there will be more than 300 km of special stages at the Croatia Rally. Due to the epidemiological situation, the Super Special speed test will not be held at the Zagreb Fair. Still, the itinerary remains attractive and challenging enough for the best drivers in the world. The best crews and speedsters in the world will thus race in Croatia, particularly in the area of Zagreb and Zagreb, Karlovac, and Krapina-Zagorje counties.
The competition will begin with a ceremonial start in front of the National and University Library in Zagreb on April 22. It will last until April 25, when 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 races at the Fair. But the epidemiological situation did not go our way. These are tests that would gather a larger number of people in a small space, and part would be driven inside the pavilion, so it would be difficult or impossible to maintain the prescribed epidemiological distance. 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 schedule,” said the Croatia Rally president of the Organizing Committee, Daniel Šaškin.
Despite the shortened route, Croatia Rally remains the first competition with more than 300 km of speed tests after the Rally Catalunya – Costa Daruda 2019. FIA and WRC delegates were satisfied with what was seen in Croatia during last week’s inspection. They believe holding the rally in a big city like Zagreb is a big plus, where, in addition to service, there will also be locations for the ceremonial start and finish. They also rated the speed tests as attractive and challenging.
“What makes us 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 on our tracks. Conceptually, after shortening the Croatia Rally route, it did not change significantly. The only location that will not be driven is at the Fair, near the service parking lot, and all other locations outside Zagreb will remain as planned. Friday and Saturday are reserved for expressways in the Samobor hills, Žumberak, and the Karlovac area. On Sunday, they will drive across Sljeme and in the vicinity of Kumrovec,” said rally director Slaven Dedić.
Croatia Rally will score points for WRC, WRC-2, WRC-3, and Junior WRC. There will be a big fight in all classes, and currently leading in the strongest category is 20-year-old Finn Kalle Rovanperä, 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, they did not need the maximum potential of competition vehicles due to wet and snowy conditions. The organizers still hope that the spectacle will not pass without spectators.
“In Estonia last year, the authorities allowed the holding of WRC competitions with the public in specially designated zones. I believe that something similar could be organized in Croatia. We have 150 kilometers of tracks, which potentially offer views from the road’s left and right sides. There is no shortage of room to keep the epidemiological distance, and we have prepared special COVID protocols. They will have to be adhered to by all participants, officials, and spectators if 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 Šaškin.
You can read more about Croatia Rally 2021 HERE.
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