WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Delfi Rally Estonia
Estonia
Starts: Friday, July 5, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Sweden
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Fri 29 Apr 2022

The inside line: Croatia Rally

Drama, drama and more drama. The Croatia Rally served up some sensational action as well as one of the most exciting Wolf Power Stages we’ve ever seen. Join us as we reflect on the hottest topics.

Star drive 
We thought long and hard about this one, but it could really only be one man. 

Kalle Rovanperä described his fourth WRC victory as ‘the toughest’ of his career, and we agree - he had to work hard for it. 

Over one minute clear after day one, the Finn made everything look easy. But a Saturday morning puncture allowed Ott Tänak back into the fight, and the pressure was on. 

The dream seemed over when Tänak sneaked in front ahead of the Wolf Power Stage, only for Rovanperä to blow him away - on less than ideal tyres, might we add - in the finale. 

What were you doing when you were 21-years-old?

Most memorable stage 
The penultimate test at Trakošćan - Vrbno shook up the drivers as well as the standings.

Torrential rain and limited visibility took most of the field by surprise. While others were just surviving, Tänak - running a combination of soft and wet compound Pirelli rubber - saw his opportunity and went for it, outpacing Rovanperä by 29.8sec to set up a last stage thriller. 

A special mention goes to WRC2 stars Emil Lindholm and Chris Ingram for posting top-three times on this one with their Fabia Rally2 machines.

Biggest surprise
Pierre-Louis Loubet’s 2021 campaign in a 2C Compétition Hyundai was rough, to say the least. 

Questions were raised about how he may perform on his M-Sport Ford debut, but you’ve got to hand it to the Frenchman: his Puma premiere exceeded expectations. 

Loubet looked comfortable in the new car - a brace of top-five times as well as a top-three time were proof of that. It’s just a shame he ran out of spare tyres and had to retire on Friday morning. 

Asahi Kasei Turning point

One to forget
There have been three retirements in three rallies for Adrien Fourmaux. Not a good start for the 26-year-old, especially when you consider two of those non-finishes were down to heavy crashes. 

Hopefully he can leave this run of form in Zagreb and turn things around in time for Portugal next month. 

Photo of the rally
This image, captured by @World, shows the moment Esapekka Lappi clipped a rock on the inside of a corner during SS1.

He pulled over a few metres later with heavy suspension damage, dashing all hopes of another strong result.

Best save
Thierry Neuville pulled off what seemed like an impossible rescue mission to salvage third overall, despite carrying a two-minute penalty. The man just never gives up.

He and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe pushed their Hyundai an excruciating 0.8km into service when its alternator belt failed on Friday. 

Then, on the final stage, the pair escaped a near-roll after sliding wide into a ditch and eventually arrived at the finish with two flat tyres and no intercom.  

Quote of the rally 
This is my reply!” *points to helmet which features the words ‘FULL SEND’*

That was Rovanperä’s reaction to posting the fastest time at Vinski Vrh - Duga Resa on Saturday evening, having lost time to Tänak with a puncture earlier in the day. 

You’ll never believe it 
There were three different leaders in the FIA Junior WRC on Sunday. 

Sami Pajari was looking good for the win before he crashed on SS18, handing Robert Virves a comfortable 51.7sec advantage. 

Virves was then dealt a 4min penalty for checking in early at the final regroup, allowing Lauri Joona to swoop in and take the spoils. You couldn’t write it.   

Number of the rally
425 - the number of days it’s been since Tänak’s last WRC win at Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox. The wait continues…

Fun fact 
Rovanperä led the WRC for 29 consecutive stages between SS8 at Rally Sweden and SS18 at the Croatia Rally. Impressive stuff.