After an extended break early in the season, the World Rally Championship is back this week with another brand-new event on the calendar in Rally Croatia.
It’s the first pure asphalt round of the WRC since Rally Spain in 2019. It’s a brand-new challenge, a brand-new country; and could it produce a brand-new winner too?
Kalle Rovanperä became the latest driver in WRC history to lead the championship with second place on February’s Arctic Rally Finland and will therefore be the first ever driver to tackle the Croatian stages in the WRC.
He will face competition from nine other World Rally Cars with the two works Toyota and Hyundai teams, Toyota junior Takamoto Katsuta, Hyundai 2C’s Pierre-Louis Loubet and M-Sport’s brace of Fiesta WRCs wading into battle. Adrien Fourmaux will make his debut at this level alongside Gus Greensmith who will be co-driven by Chris Patterson for the very first time.
The support classes are similarly well stacked with Andreas Mikkelsen, Mads Østberg and Teemu Suninen headlining the competitive WRC2 entry and two previous European Rally Champions are kicking off their WRC3 seasons in Croatia too.
Eight of the best young drivers from around the world will be entering the first of five battles in this year’s Junior WRC too as they look to begin their rise to the top of world rallying.
With stages that are expected to be demanding, quite narrow and in other parts flowing in places, Rally Croatia has all the hallmarks of a WRC classic in the making.
Here are all the numbers and figures you need to know ahead of the WRC’s first visit to Zagreb.
69 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC)
11 Thierry Neuville/ Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC)
33 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC)
8 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
42 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
18 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC)
44 Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson (Ford Fiesta WRC)
16 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta WRC)
7 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Rally Croatia entry breakdown
Total 66 crews
10 Priority 1 crews
7 Priority 2 crews (WRC2)
15 Priority 3 crews (WRC3)
8 Priority 4 crews (JWRC)
26 Non-priority crews
Rally Croatia itinerary
Thursday 22nd April
Shakedown Medvedgrad (2.85 miles) 0901
Friday 23rd April
SS1 Rude – Plešivica 1 (4.31 miles) 0839
SS2 Kostanjevac – Petruš Vrh 1 (14.76 miles) 0932
SS3 Jaškovo – Mali Modruš Potok 1 (6.27 miles) 1035
SS4 Pećurkovo Brdo – Mrežnički Novaki 1 (5.6 miles) 1138
SS5 Rude – Plešivica 2 (4.31 miles) 1501
SS6 Kostanjevac – Petruš Vrh 2 (14.76 miles) 1554
SS7 Jaškovo – Mali Modruš Potok 2 (6.27 miles) 1657
SS8 Pećurkovo Brdo – Mrežnički Novaki 2 (5.6 miles) 1800
Saturday 24th April
SS9 Mali Lipovec – Grdanjci 1 (12.61 miles) 0829
SS10 Stojdraga – Gornja Vas 1 (12.9 miles) 0917
SS11 Krašić – Vrškovac 1 (6.9 miles) 1010
SS12 Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa 1 (5.45 miles) 1108
SS13 Mali Lipovec – Grdanjci 2 (12.61 miles) 1429
SS14 Stojdraga – Gornja Vas 2 (12.9 miles) 1517
SS15 Krašić – Vrškovac 2 (6.9 miles) 1610
SS16 Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa 2 (5.45 miles) 1708
Sunday 25th April
SS17 Bliznec – Pila 1 (15.65 miles) 0720
SS18 Zagorska Sela – Kumrovec 1 (8.75 miles) 0838
SS19 Bliznec – Pila 2 (15.65 miles) 1011
SS20 Zagorska Sela – Kumrovec 2 (8.75 miles) 1318
Total competitive distance: 186.6 miles
Total liasion distance: 603 miles
Total distance: 789.6 miles
Keep an eye on DirtFish and all our social media channels for the most comprehensive Rally Croatia coverage this week.
We’ll have reports on each stage, all the latest news and regular insights from Colin Clark and David Evans.
Once the powerstage is complete, we’ll have in-depth analysis of how the event was won, discussion of all the weekend’s biggest talking points as well as our driver ratings.
And tantalizingly, we’ll also be covering the latest round of the American Rally Association National season – the DirtFish Olympus Rally – too making this weekend an epic double header of unmissable rallying action!