Rally Croatia 2022

Rally Croatia 2022: Key storylines before we face the challenge in Zagreb

The WRC Rally Croatia 2022 is all about the challenge on asphalt with many surprises! The mixture of slippery and bumpy roads, as well as everything in between, is a challenge that our courageous drivers will need to overcome from 21 – 24 April 2022.

WRC Rally Croatia: Instead of introduction

You will experience the full beauty of Croatia in the rays of the spring sun this weekend to enjoy the FIA World Rally Championship. 

It seems nothing can disturb the peace of suburban life…. exactly until the engines start on the combat rally cars. Be careful, as regularity and peace can mask the real intricacies of roads, which not everyone can handle. Here the technical advantage can fade into the background, while the victory will belong to someone who knows a lot about the tricks of asphalt pavements. As a result, the debut of the WRC Croatia in 2021 left everyone breathless. The challenge in Zagreb had us crossing our fingers right until the very last second! 

A roller coaster ride! Sebastien Ogier swung all his closest rivals, including Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans, in full force! 

Rally Croatia 2022

Elfyn Evans to settle old scores.

There was just 0.6 sec that separated Sebastien Ogier from Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Elfyn Evans in Rally Croatia 2021. The final meters of the Wolf Power Stage were crucial.

The entire list for the challenge in Zagreb in 2022 includes every courageous driver who doesn’t shy away from the asphalt challenge, except Sebastien Ogier. He has dealt with other big deals and feels comfortable preparing for endurance races. 

Therefore, today Toyota Gazoo racing driver Elfyn Evans has the chance to fight back and return that 0,6 seconds! The reason is that Britain felt power on narrow asphalt roads. That final six minutes and 18 seconds after more than 300km of flat-out driving, Evans remembers very well. Being equal with Ogier, Elfyn was 10 points adrift–and all because of a tiny error with the finish in sight! The Toyota Gazoo racing driver wants to fix last year’s errors, settle old scores, and win Rally Croatia 2022. 

WRC drivers championship after Rally Sweden
WRC drivers championship after Rally Sweden

Kalle Rovanpera leads the WRC drivers’ championship

Besides, behind, and in fact even ahead in the WRC drivers’ standings, Kalle Rovanpera is already breathing down his partner’s neck. Literally pushing everyone into the background, the young Finn outshone everyone at the Rally Sweden.

Kalle Rovanpera adapts to the new conditions quickly, whether it is weather or route specifics. During the WRC Sweden 2022, many drivers encountered problems and had additional questions about hybrid rally cars. The Toyota Gazoo racing driver set a goal and completed it with no additional requirements. 

In 2021, the Croatian asphalt challenge was the biggest disaster for Rovanpera. Started as the youngest driver ever to lead the WRC at just 20, his Yaris plunged down a bank, coming to rest against a tree. Because of the damage to the car, Kalle Rovanpera explored the Croatian areas on foot. 

The taste of victory is a special feeling. Who knows, maybe the Toyota Gazoo racing Kalle Rovanpera will be faster in Zagreb with a 0.6 second advantage. 

One thing is for sure – Toyota is the rational leader in FIA World Rally Championship after two rounds in 2022 season, with an advantage of twenty-four points ahead. 

Thierry Neuville Rally Croatia 2021/ WRC Official
Thierry Neuville Rally Croatia 2021/ WRC Official

Thierry Neuville accepts the call for Rally Croatia 2022. 

In the FIA WRC drivers’ standings, Thierry Neuville sits second behind Kalle Rovanpera by 12 points. Hyundai Motorsport rally driver disagrees with that view. It is the Belgian driver who makes wonders when nobody is waiting for him. 

Last rally Croatia in 2021, Neuville was that third man, who took on the Toyota pair. The Belgian also led Friday but lost chances on Saturday morning because of fatal errors with tires. Despite losing, Neuville didn’t give up and finished third in Zagreb, 8.1sec adrift of Ogier.

Asphalt roads are not suitable for most rally drivers. You could probably say the same for Neuville, but alas. As long as there are no technical problems with the upgraded Hyundai hybrid rally 1 car, Belgians will probably show the strongest performance on the first feel of the roads.

One thing is for sure, to overtake Toyota drivers is the primary goal for Thierry Neuville as driver and for the main Hyundai Motorsport flag bearer. No less, no more, as to settle old scores. 

WRC Manufacturers after Rally Sweden
WRC Manufacturers after Rally Sweden

Hyundai Motorsport sets to topple M-Sport Ford.

Thierry Neuville made the target clear – to reach the podium at Rally Croatia 2022. Ott Tanak is preparing to close the gap behind his Belgian teammate. Unlike expectations, the Estonian driver is not among the top 10 drivers. WRC season 2022 started in quite the opposite way for Estonian star Tanak. Ott needs time to adapt, but when he does, no one will catch him. 

The two who are not waiting to feel comfortable are Gus Greensmith and Craig Breen. Ford M-Sport’s Purple Pumas have started WRC season 2022 by smashing time records at Rally Monte Carlo. Sebastien Loeb scored an incredible victory with his new co-driver Isabelle Galmiche. It was looking like Rally Sweden would be a Ford space race, but Toyota improved on the advantages.  

There is almost forty points gap between Hyundai and the Japanese leader. With only twelve points separating them and M-Sport, Alzenau has every right to fight back in second place. Hard to imagine, but Hyundai Motorsport has been leading the WRC manufacturers championship for two years in a row: 2019 and 2020. The team management has changed, but this is not the reason to skip M-Sport. 

Craig Breen WRC

Rally Croatia is the option to turn back for Craig Breen.

While Hyundai Motorsport looks forward to a long break as the opportunity to gather thoughts, Craig Breen can’t wait to get started again. 

The M-Sport Ford driver started the season on a high with third place at Rally Monte-Carlo, but didn’t pass the exam through the snowy forests around Umea and veered off the road in Sweden. 

The racing career of Craig Breen has received as many rave reviews as there are negative ones. The time has come to make the point and prove what an Irishman is worth! Craig Breen’s goal for Rally Croatia 2022 is to find a way to spring back up again.

Rally Croatia 2022 route

WRC Rally Croatia 2022 route.

The twenty attractive special stages comprise 291.84km on a route of 1642.18km. WRC Rally Croatia location covers Zagreb County, Karlovac County, Krapina-Zagorje County, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and Varaždin County.

On Thursday, we meet near the city’s National and University Library before moving 120.38km on Friday through the mountainous areas of Samborsko Gorje, Umberak and Karlovac. 

Technically, Friday is the most challenging part of the Rally Croatia 2022 route, as it includes Stojdraga – Gornja Vas in the Žumberak nature park. The iconic stage, or ‘the stage of a thousand bends’ – as they call it. We will plunge into the twisty, narrow streets through villages and hilly forests! Remember, there is no place for mistakes, as you would never repeat the same route without a note. Co-drivers will face the hardest work. We will figure out which co-driver is the most reliable! 

Consider that Saturday will bring you a quick break in vain. It will repeat Friday’s high tension, as we wind through the longest test of the rally Croatia 2022. We will touch Kostanjevac – Petrus Vrh with Jaskovo – Mali Modrus Potok, before a long trip west of the Adriatic coast for the Platak. Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa completes the loop. The afternoon challenge will repeat the morning test with 116.98km.

The final day of Rally Croatia brings a breath as the north of Zagreb features the widest roads of all. If any of our brave drivers still have any power, then we will open Trakoscan – Vrbno with Zagorska Sela – Kumrovec twice to take the day’s total to 54.48km.

WRC Rally Croatia 2022 scedule

Thursday 21 April LOCAL TIME
STUDIO SERVICE PARK ZAGREB FAIR : PRE SHOW & CEREMONIAL START18:45
Freeday 22 AprilLOCAL TIME
ZAGREB SERVICE PARK 08:30
SS1 MALI LIPOVEC – GRDANJCI 108:33
SS2 STOJDRAGA – GORNJA VAS 109:24
SS3 KRASIC – VRSKOVAC 110:18
ZAGREB STUDIO11:00
BREAK11:10
SS4 PECURKOVO BRDO – MREZNICKI NOVAKI 111:30
BREAK12:15
GOOD AFTERNOON RALLY FANS – ZAGREB STUDIO15:00
SS5 MALI LIPOVEC – GRDANJCI 215:05
SS6 STOJDRAGA – GORNJA VAS 215:56
SS7 KRASIC – VRSKOVAC 216:51
BREAK17:30
SS8 PECURKOVO BRDO – MREZNICKI NOVAKI 218:04
ZAGREB STUDIO, GUEST, MEDIA ZONE & SERVICE B18:47
Saturday 23 AprilLOCAL TIME
ZAGREB SERVICE C GOOD MORNING RALLY FANS06:15
SS9 KOSTANJEVAC – PETRUS VRH 107:40
SS10 JASKOVO – MALI MODRUS POTOK 108:41
SS11 PLATAK 110:09
ZAGREB STUDIO10:56
SS12 VINKSI VRH – DUGA RESA 1 TV LIVE WF111:30
BREAK12:30
BREAK13:15
SS13 KOSTANJEVAC – PETRUS VRH215:15
SS14 JASKOVO – MALI MODRUS POTOK 216:14
BREAK17:00
SS15 PLATAK 117:40
BREAK18:30
SS16 VINKSI VRH – DUGA RESA 2 TV LIVE WF219:00
ZAGREB STUDIO, GUEST, MEDIA ZONE & SERVICE E20:00
Sundat 24 AprilLOCAL TIME
ZAGREB SERVICE F GOOD MORNING RALLY FANS05:45
BREAK06:30
SS17 TRAKOSCAN – VRBNO 107:18
SS18 ZAGORSKA SELA – KUMROVEC 1 – TV LIVE WF308:30
BREAK09:30
SS19 TRAKOSCAN – VRBNO 210:26
ZAGREB STUDIO11:05
BREAK11:15
SS18 ZAGORSKA SELA – KUMROVEC 1- WF4 WOLF POWERSTAGE13:00
STUDIO WRAP UP14:30
Note: timetable may change

The 50th anniversary championship promises to make noise as it turns Zagreb into a rally racing celebration. They expect that over 350 thousand race fans will follow the event. That’s a record number!