Zagreb, April 9, 2021 – Everything is ready for the Croatia Rally. The best rally crews in the world have already started testing the Croatian asphalt. 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. Drivers will race on the local roads of Zagreb, counties of Karlovac and Krapina-Zagorje, and the City of Zagreb.
A detailed plan of all upcoming activities of the sports spectacle that arrives in Croatia for the first time was presented at today’s press conference. The plan was presented by Daniel Šaškin, President of the Organizing Committee of Croatia Rally, Davorin Štetner, President of the Croatian Automobile and Karting Federation, Slaven Dedić, Clerk of the Course and Željko Štefanić, Rally Director, and supported by Tomislav Družak, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and sports and Milan Pavelić, head of the City Office for Sports and Youth of the City of Zagreb. WRC Managing Director Jona Siebel addressed the audience with a video message, and 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 incredibly proud and excited that the best drivers of today 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 fans around the world every year. It is a great success that would not have happened without the strong support of our partners and sponsors, whom I thank from the bottom of my heart. We must mention more than a thousand people who will work hard to organize the largest sporting event in our country after many years. The eyes of the entire automotive world will be on our country these few weeks. I am positive that we will justify the trust of the FIA and the WRC Promotor”, said Daniel Šaškin, President of the Organizing Committee of the Croatia Rally.
The world’s best crews will drive a total of 300 kilometers of special stages that 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 entirely asphalt rally this season, and 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. In April 1906, 115 years ago, the First Croatian Automobile Club was founded – the predecessor of the Croatian Automobile and Karting Federation. We will mark this significant anniversary during the WRC race. The most important people in world sports led by FIA President Jean Todt announced their arrival in Croatia, which will get an incredible media promotion globally because hundreds of the world’s strongest media report from the event”, added Davorin Štetner, President of the Croatian Automobile and Karting Federation and President of the Management Board of Croatia Rally.
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 the Belgian Thierry Neuville, who is the best at asphalt surfaces. 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, as well as the biggest surprise this season, the young 20-year-old Finn Kale Rovanperä, who is leading in the overall standings after 4th place in Monte Carlo and 2nd at home in Finland.