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Tue 19 Apr 2022

Croatia countdown – rally route

Although the FIA World Rally Championship has visited Croatia only once, that stop 12 months ago underlined that the asphalt roads around capital Zagreb are far from straightforward.

The sealed surface special stages are slippery even in the dry, while the asphalt varies from super-smooth via worn to badly broken. Throw in crests and jumps, and it’s easy to see why this third round will pose a tough challenge for the new Rally1 generation of hybrid cars.

The Croatia Rally (21 - 24 April) kicks off in Zagreb, with Thursday evening’s start ceremony at the National and University library a pre-cursor to three days of competition.

Friday’s opening leg heads to the highland areas of Samoborsko Gorje, Žumberak and the Karlovac region, west and south-west of the city. It is the longest of the event, featuring 120.38km of action.

It begins with the two longest tests of the day at Mali Lipovec - Grdanjci (19.20km) and Stojdraga - Gornja Vas (20.77km), a narrow and twisty affair which is known as ‘the stage of a thousand bends’.

They are followed by two shorter but fastest stages at Krašić - Vrškovac (11.11km) and Pećurkovo Brdo - Mrežnički Novaki (9.11km). Service at Zagreb Fair splits the morning loop and an afternoon re-run of the quartet.

Saturday returns to similar territory. The longest test of the rally at Kostanjevac - Petruš Vrh (23.76km) features a host of surface changes. It is followed by Jaškovo - Mali Modruš Potok (10.10km), before a long trip to the Adriatic coast for the new Platak (15.85km), which ascends to a ski centre.

Vinski Vrh - Duga Resa (8.78km) features a picturesque crossing of the Dobra river and completes the loop. All four tests are repeated in the afternoon after service for a total of 116.98km.

Sunday’s finale north of Zagreb features the widest roads of the weekend. The opening Trakošćan - Vrbno (13.15km), new for 2022, starts close to a 13th century lakeside castle amid stunning scenery and is followed by Zagorska Sela - Kumrovec (14.09km).

Both technical tests are driven twice, taking the day’s total to 54.48km, and the final test forms the live TV Wolf Power Stage with bonus points on offer to the fastest crews.

The 20 tests comprise 291.84km in a route of 1642.18km.

• Full coverage from the Croatia Rally will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park

Video: Croatia Rally route
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