Triumphant Gryazin maintains Citroën’s perfect Croatia WRC2 record

Nikolay Gryazin romped his way to WRC2 victory on Sunday at Croatia Rally, maintaining French manufacturer Citröen’s perfect record in Zagreb.

With 39.5sec in hand over his C3 Rally2 team-mate Yohan Rossel coming into Sunday, Bulgarian driver Gryazin applied a risk-free approach to the weekend’s final four asphalt speed tests – cruising to the final time control 38.5sec clear of the field. Citroën cars have now topped the WRC2 rostrum in every WRC Croatia Rally edition.

The result comes exactly 25 years on from Citroën's first WRC win when Philippe Bugalski and Jean-Paul Chiaroni won the 1999 Rally Catalunya with a Xsara Kit Car

"It feels really nice, especially with all the work we did before this event," Gryazin beamed. "I just need to drive like this more often, I need to remember this feeling."

Rossel could also afford to take a similar approach with more than two minutes separating himself from third-placed Pepe López, who was locked into a nip and tuck battle with Nicolas Ciamin for the final podium spot.

Campaigning a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, Ciamin started the final leg just 10.8sec down on López’s Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 but a brief spin 1.2km into the day’s opener cost the Frenchman five seconds and put paid to his podium aspirations.

2022 WRC3 champion Lauri Joona looked set to claim his first-ever top-five WRC2 finish but was caught out on Sunday's second stage, being forced to stop and change a tyre. That dropped him to sixth and opened the door for Eyvind Brynildsen, who was making his first appearance since EKO Acropolis Rally Greece two years ago.

Emil Lindholm's weekend-long issues continued on Sunday when his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 lost power on SS18, but he was able to hold off Roberto Daprá and finish seventh.

In ninth was the Fabia RS Rally2 of Armin Kremer, who fulfilled his goal of winning the WRC Masters' Cup category.

Victory for Gryazin elevates him to third in the championship standings, three points down on Rossel who currently shares top spot with Oliver Solberg.

Gryazin additionally scored maximum points in the WRC2 Challenger category, where he now sits third behind Ciamin and López. He also won the FORUM8 WRC2 Most Stage Wins award with 10 fastest times.

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