WRC heads to the roads of Croatia
We travel to Croatia Rally for the third round of the 2022 WRC season with renewed determination and a desire to continue our progress in the new hybrid era of the sport.
“The two-month break since Rally Sweden has been helpful, as it has given us the time to regroup and reset before we begin the next phase of the season, which starts with Croatia Rally,” said our Deputy Team Principal Julien.
The first full tarmac rally of the year, and the first ever for our hybrid-powered i20 N Rally1, Croatia Rally presents a tough and unpredictable challenge. Based in and around the nation’s capital city of Zagreb, our crews will contest 20 special stages covering 291.84km of the region’s scenic roads.
Despite being a single surface rally, the profile of terrain varies from stage to stage; some tests offer smooth surfaces while others boast severe bumps caused by water and weather damage. The roads are fast throughout and contain a series of highly demanding narrow sections.
“The tarmac there is very different – it looks good but the grip is very low,” commented Ott. “The surface changes and the general characteristics of the roads also make it quite challenging to drive, with lots of crests and jumps that you normally don’t have too much on tarmac.”
Our line-up remains unchanged from the opening two rounds of the season, with Thierry/Martijn, Ott/Martin and Oliver/Elliott set to tackle the Croatian tarmac. Our Belgian and Estonian crews competed at the event’s WRC debut in 2021 and will be hoping to use this prior experience to their advantage.
“There are definitely a lot of challenges we are going to face again in potentially tricky conditions, especially with these new cars, but it is a surface I feel very comfortable on,” said Thierry. “It is a rally I enjoyed a lot last year and I am looking forward to it.”
In contrast, Croatia Rally is a new event for both Oliver and Elliott, therefore the duo’s primary focus is getting more vital kilometres in the new car.
“It is very exciting to go to Croatia for the first time – it’s a beautiful country and it think it will be a fantastic tarmac rally, although I know it is very tricky,” said Oliver. “For me it will be about getting lots of experience and not as much about pace.”
“Our aim as a team is to continue the momentum of our recent progress and achieve a positive result on the tarmac roads of Croatia,” added Julien.
Croatia Rally will take place on April 21-24.