An adrenaline rush, stunning route, dangerous tour, and mythical area directly describe the Rally in Croatia. The FIA World Rally Championship heads Zagreb city to start Croatia Rally 2023. If you have just switched yet to the rallying or missed the latest news, we gathered storylines people will be talking about at the event.
The Croatian Rally is a new round in the championship. Despite the first-ever rallying in 1974 (INA Delta TLX Rally), the WRC Croatia debuted in 2021, with Sébastien Ogier claiming the victory.
Due to the pandemic time and logistic loads, Croatia became a good option for holding world-class racing events.
In fact, rallying has been popular here long before round pinned in the WRC calendar. And that is for a reason.
What is Croatia Rally about?
The main feature of the Croatian rally challenge is a mix of complex conditions. In some terms, it is familiar with the stage in Corsica. The roads are fast but narrow. In fact, many options may interfere with the rallying. It is a complex of possibilities, like rainy weather, worthy tire strategies, slippery stages, and lousy visibility problems.
In 2023 Croatia Rally is the first to race pure asphalt. More than just asphalt, it combines worn and bumpy surfaces. Some of these are fast and narrow, and some are damaged due o the weather.
Also, switching from Mexico dust to Croatia’s asphalt is challenging for a hybrid Rally1 car.
However, the event brings different emotions.
Pay Tribute To Craig Breen.
A week before the start of Rally Croatia, Hyundai Motorsport driver Craig Breen tragically lost his life while testing Hyundai i20 N at the pre-event test.
After a lengthy discussion, Hyundai Motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul announced the team takes participation in Rally Croatia 2023.
In memory of Breen and with the blessing of his family and co-driver James Fulton, the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 cars of his teammates Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi will carry a special livery. While Breen’s competition number 42 is retired as a further tribute to his memory.
Toyota Gazoo Racing team solidarities with Hyundai Motorsport. The team represents two cars on the Rally Croatia 2023: Sébastien Ogier and Kally Rovanperä.
Highlights of Rally Croatia 2023 route:
The drivers will pass 20 tests comprising 301.26km in a total route of 1650.68km. The main stage, Servicepark, holds at Zagreb Fair and lies near the giant Sava River.
The first is about the start at central Zagreb’s National and University Library on Thursday. The evening ceremony will gather about 300 000 rally fans!
Friday is the longest-distance day.
The Rally Croatai starts on Friday with SS1 Mali Lipovec – Grdanjci 1. The crews will head west through the highland areas of Samoborsko Gorje, Žumberak, and the Karlovac region.
They will pass 30.18km of action. We will see “the stage of a thousand bends,” a real problem. The roads are narrow and twisty here.
Saturday opens with Kostanjevac – Petrus Vrn, followed by a most photogenic section of the Rally Croatia 2023. A breathtaking area in the Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa stage features a stone bridge over the Dobra River and an ancient Frankopan castle.
The tests are repeated in the afternoon after service, bringing the day’s total to 116.60km.
The route for Sunday holds on the widest roads of the weekend.
Closing to a 13th-century lakeside castle and stunning scenery, we will start the challenge with Trakoscan Vrbno.
After both technical tests are driven twice, drivers will pass the final blast forming the Wolf Power Stage, where bonus points are offered to the fastest crews.
Sébastien Ogier backs the game.
Fans can expect intense competition and thrilling moments as all drivers push themselves to the limit. Especially Sébastien Ogier, who decided to participate in Croatia Rally 2023 after a brilliant victory on Rally Mexico.
Remember that eight-time world rally champion participating for Toyota as a part-time driver in the 2023 WRC season but having the most points in the driver’s standings. Thus, French leads with 56 points. The closest rival is Thierry Neuville, who places second with 53. While the triumphant and youngest WRC champion in 2022, Kalle Rovanperä is only third, scoring 52 points overall.
These three are the main claimers to win Rally Croatia 2023. We expect it will be Rovanperä if it is rainy in Zagreb. Otherwise, we suggest seeing another triumphal victory of Ogier. Although the forecast talks in the last favor, as severe rain is expected to be, but only after the rally weekend.
However, the rivalry between both is what we expect to see at Rally Croatia 2023.
The live stream is available on RallyTV and WRC All live subscriptions. The daily highlights will be available to see on Red Bull TV.
Croatia Rally 2023 livestream schedule
Remember, Croatia is one hour more than Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in London.
|THURSDAY 20 APRIL||LOCAL TIME|
|CEREMONIAL START FROM NATIONAL & UNIVERSITY LIBRARY||17:45|
|FRIDAY 21 APRIL||LOCAL TIME|
|ZAGREB SERVICE PARK||06:45|
|SS 1 MALI LIPOVEC – GRDANJCI 1||07:03|
|SS 2 STOJDRAGA – HARTJE 1||07:52|
|SS 3 KRASIC – VRSKOVAC 1||08:59|
|SS 4 PECURKOVO BRDO – MREZNICKI NOVAKI 1||10:12|
|SS 5 MALI LIPOVEC – GRDANJCI 2||13:45|
|SS 6 STOJDRAGA – HARTJE 2||14:34|
|SS 7 KRASIC – VRSKOVAC 2||15:41|
|SS 8 PECURKOVO BRDO – MREZNICKI NOVAKI 2||16:54|
|MEDIA ZONE & FLEXI SV B FROM ZAGREB SP||18:00|
|SATURDAY 22 APRIL||LOCAL TIME|
|ZAGREB SERVICE PARK||06:45|
|SS 9 KOSTANJEVAC – PETRUS VRH 1||06:54|
|SS 10 VINSKI VRH – DUGA RESA 1 – TV LIVE WF1||08:00|
|STUDIO FROM ZAGREB SERVICE PARK||09:15|
|SS 11 RAVNA GORA – SKRAD 1||09:23|
|STUDIO FROM ZAGREB SERVICE PARK & JWRC UPDATE||10:05|
|SS 12 PLATAK 1||10:26|
|SERVICE D FROM ZAGREB SERVICE PARK||13:00|
|SS 13 KOSTANJEVAC – PETRUS VRH 2||14:54|
|SS 14 VINSKI VRH – DUGA RESA 2 – TV LIVE WF2||16:00|
|STUDIO FROM ZAGREB SP||17:15|
|SS 15 RAVNA GORA – SKRAD 2||17:23|
|STUDIO FROM ZAGREB SERVICE PARK & JWRC UPDATE||18:05|
|SS 16 PLATAK 2||18:26|
|SUNDAY 22 APRIL||LOCAL TIME|
|ZAGREB SERVICE PARK||04:30|
|STUDIO FROM ZAGREB SERVICE PARK||06:00|
|SS 17 TRAKOSCAN – VRBNO 1||06:08|
|SS 18 ZAGORSKA SELA – KUMROVEC 1 – TV LIVE WF3||07:30|
|SS18 CONTINUES TO JWRC||08:30|
|SS 19 TRAKOSCAN – VRBNO 2||09:23|
|STUDIO FROM POWER STAGE REGROUP AREA||10:07|
|SS 20 ZAGORSKA SELA – KUMROVEC 2 – TV LIVE WF4||12:00|
|WRAP UP SHOW FROM THE WOLF POWER STAGE PODIUM||13:30|
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