The FIA World Rally Championship will make its inaugural visit to Croatia this weekend for the first asphalt rally of the 2021 season. The new venue poses many challenges for the teams and drivers as they adapt not only to the new conditions and road surface but also for the first time this season they will use Pirelli’s new WRC asphalt tyre range.

Speaking ahead of the event, Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Sebastien Ogier in the Yaris WRC commented saying:

“Croatia will be a new rally and I’m excited to still discover new things in this sport at this point in my career. It has been a long time since we had a full asphalt rally like this one, and the Yaris is a great car to drive on asphalt, so I’m sure it will be fun. From what I’ve seen so far, the roads could be quite challenging, maybe a bit dirty and narrow in places, so I’m sure there is plenty of action ahead of us. The pre-event test was very important because we have new tyres this season and this was the first chance to drive the slick tyres on dry asphalt. I did a lot of runs, trying all of the different combinations of tyres and trying to be ready to make the best choices during the rally.”

Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC’s Thierry Neuville is looking forward to hoping building on the teams strong start to the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship season saying:

I always look forward to tarmac events. This time it is a new one for everybody; none of us has previously competed in Croatia. Also, for the teams, we have no experience on these stages. It’s going to be a challenging event, but I think everybody likes the fact that it is new. Because it is our first time at Croatia Rally, there is a lot of hard work for us to do as soon as we arrive to ensure we are as prepared as possible

This weekend’s event marks a milestone for the M-Sport Ford WRC Team’s Adrien Fourmaux who makes his official FIA World Rally Championship debut in the Ford Fiesta WRC EccoBoost and speaking ahead of the event he said:

I’m really excited to take this next step in my career. This won’t be my first time behind the wheel of the Fiesta WRC as we drove it at Rallylegend last year and also at the test for Arctic Rally – but this will be my first time driving against the world’s best drivers in the FIA World Rally Championship.  There will be a lot to learn, but I’m really looking forward to it and will focus on gaining as much knowledge and experience as I can. The roads will be completely new to everyone. From what I’ve seen, the stages look really interesting – fast and narrow and quite technical in places. It’s going to be a big challenge, but one that I’m excited to experience.

This is how the championship stands heading into Croatia:

PROVISIONAL STANDINGS

WRC Drivers (after 2 of 12 rounds)

1 Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) 39pts

2 Thierry Neuville (BEL) 35pts

3 Sébastien Ogier (FRA) 31pts

4 Elfyn Evans (GBR) 31pts

5 Ott Tänak (EST) 27pts

6 Takamoto Katsuta (JPN) 16pts

WRC Manufacturers (after 2 of 12 rounds)
1 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 88pts
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 77pts
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 24pts
4 Hyundai 2C Competition 22pts

 

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