Akin to the first day of Rally Croatia, the second leg consists of eight stages in two loops of four and could be a key day in deciding who the first World Rally Championship winner in Croatia will be.
WRC3 driver Tom Williams is back on hand to give us some insight as to what lies ahead on Saturday.
“Saturday’s stages are a bit wider and a bit faster than Friday but equally similar to Friday in the way they change from surface to surface and the varying conditions,” he says.
“It’s a day for the committed drivers and I think it could be the day where the rally is won or lost. After everybody has settled into the rally on Friday and got their feeling, Saturday is when you’re going to see drivers pushing for position so it’s definitely the main part of the rally I think.”
Here are Williams’s descriptions of Saturday’s four different stages:
SS9/13 Mali Lipovec – Grdanjci (12.61 miles)
The day starts with quite a long stage so the drivers will need to be woken up and ready for the first pass! The first section is high-speed on brand-new asphalt which is very shiny in the wet and the sides of the road are filled with that white gravel so that’s going to get sprayed across the road everywhere just like on the first stage on Friday. The surface then switches to broken Tarmac which is very fast and flowing and goes quite deep into a forest before the stage turns off onto a very narrow section that’s very technical which a huge amount of bumps and crests. The stage basically features two complete polar opposites within itself in terms of its characteristics.
SS10/14 Stojdraga – Gornja Vas (12.9 miles)
Another 12-mile stage so the first part of Saturday’s loop is definitely the meat of the rally. It’s a really nice, fast and flowing stage-start just like the previous one where picking the right line will be important. The road then becomes a bit like a patchwork quilt as it’s covered in cuts and square corners, and it’s all very bumpy. After the stage the stage turns onto a narrower road with a concrete surface and for me it resembles Rally Finland but on asphalt. It’s very fast with loads of jumps and crests. The stage then turns downhill into an even crazier section with more crests and jumps which is mental. Commitment will be essential.
SS11/15 Krašić – Vrškovac (6.9 miles)
This stage is slightly shorter after the two 12-milers but again starts quite wide and fast, though there aren’t many opportunities to cut. There’s a treeline to attack, however the stage surface progressively degrades and becomes again a bit like a patchwork, but it keeps its high-speed rhythm throughout. Right at the end, the road turns off and goes down this section which is absolutely brand-new and is quite twisty with very high kerbs on the roadside. If you cook the tires and brakes through the stage and suddenly turn onto this, the chances of people smashing rims or getting punctures on this last section is going to be high I reckon. Any mistake will be heavily punished.
SS12/16 Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa (5.45 miles)
One of my favorite stages of the rally. It’s a bit shorter than some of the others with a medium-width road but has a really good flow throughout as it goes from crest to crest. There’s not many places to cut so there should be quite a clean line which will enable the drivers to push quite hard. The stage passes under a highway at one point and then turns off over a really old, historic bridge and goes up towards Dubovac Castle which you might have seen some photos of. It’s definitely one for the photographers there but also for the drivers, it’s a really, really nice stage to drive.