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Tue 16 Apr 2024

What to expect from Croatia Rally 2024

They’ve taken the rough, now for the smooth. After the teeth-rattling roads of Africa, the FIA World Rally Championship moves to the asphalt of Croatia this week (18 - 21 April).

The two events couldn’t be more different in nature and couldn’t require a more varied set-up from the cars. Gone are the up-on-stilts gravel runners and it’s in with the hunkered down asphalt racers.

Much as the gravel-specification car is impressive as the automobile equivalent of a cross between a Mountain Goat and a Leopard, the cars won’t run lower or look racier than they will in and around Zagreb this week.

In days gone by, the actual cars themselves would have varied radically from round to round, with different chassis, engine and transmission specifications for the two polar opposite surfaces.

Not now. Such is the universal ability and application of the Rally1 car, there are very few changes. Bolt on four new corners, whip off the snorkels and probably best give them a wash and they would, by and large, be ready to start round four.

All of that said, take a Safari car and turn it into the first corner of the Krašić to Sošice stage on Friday morning and the results would be fairly spectacular. Beneath the car, Pirelli’s beefy, ride-anything-Scorpion has been replaced by the far lower profile, Tar-hugging P Zero.

This week’s more about raw speed, corner g-forces and high grip rather than going… well, just about anywhere quickly.