› Pepe López/David Vázquez from Spain andFinns Lauri Joona/Janni Hussi head Škoda teams with chances for WRC2 victory at the word championship’s fourth round
› After winning WRC2 at the Safari Rally Kenya, Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) are not registered to score category points at the first tarmac event of the season
› As planned, Rally Croatia is not part of the program for WRC2 overall leader Oliver Solberg and co-driver Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2)

Mladá Boleslav, 17 April 2024 – After the Alpine cold of Rallye Monte-Carlo, the full-snow Rally Sweden and the rough gravel of the Safari Rally Kenya, the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) now takes to the tarmac roads of Rally Croatia (18-21 April 2024). WRC2 overall leaders Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (SWE/GBR) and third placed Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (GBR/SWE), both of Škoda Motorsport supported team Toksport WRT, will not be competing for WRC2 points. Thus, other Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 crews fight for the category victory.

All drivers competing for the WRC2 title are eligible to score points on not more than seven rounds of the 13 event season. Therefore, the entry list of the category varies from rally to rally. Current championship leaders and WRC2 winners at Rally Sweden Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (SWE/GBR) decided to skip the upcoming Rally Croatia. The second crew of Škoda Motorsport supported team Toksport WRT, Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (GBR/SWE), travel to Croatia, but the WRC2 winners of Safari Rally Kenya did not register to score drivers’ points there. But they chase the victory among all crews driving RC2 cars, at the same time collecting points for Toksport WRT in the teams’ classification. Currently, Toksport WRT joins the lead on equal points with two other teams.

The front-runners’ individual strategies leave the door wide open for other Škoda crews entered into WRC2. High on the list of possible winners: Spanish pairing Pepe López and David Vázquez, sharing a Mapo Motorsport run Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. They proved their tarmac prowess with second position in WRC2 at the Rallye Monte-Carlo. “The asphalt roads of Croatia offer similar challenges to those at the ‘Monte’. My Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 is the right match to fight for victory in Croatia,” says López, who after scoring only at one event so far holds shared fifth position in WRC2 overall and second position in the WRC2 Challenger classification.

More at home on gravel, the priority for Finnish duo Lauri Joona/Janni Hussi (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of team TGS Worldwide) is to collect experience with tarmac stages. Also a force to reckon are experienced Norwegians Eyvind Brynildsen and Jørn Listerud, who make a welcome return to WRC2 with a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of team Toksport WRT.

In the WRC Masters Cup classification, drivers at the age over 50 go head to head. Rally Croatia sees a revival of the long-time duel between Mauro Miele/Luca Beltrame from Italy (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of team DreamOne Racing) and Armin and Ella Kremer (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of Baumschlager Rallye&Racing). The Germans won WRC2 Masters Cup at Rally Croatia last year. In total, 14 crews are entered into Rally Croatia with a Škoda Fabia in RC2 specification.

Rally Croatia kicks off on Thursday (18 April) at 6:30 pm with a ceremonial start in the country’s capital Zagreb. Eight special stages covering 119.74 kilometres are scheduled for Friday. On Saturday eight further special stages over 116.60 kilometres continue the fight against the clock. Sunday features the finale with four more stages. In total, the crews have to complete 20 special stages covering 283,28 kilometres.

Did you know, that…
...Rally Croatia was held for the first time in 1974 in former Yugoslavia under the name of INA Delta TLX Rally?

...at the 2017 edition, four years before Rally Croatia became a WRC round, the Hungarian crew of David Botka and Mark Mesterhazi drove a Škoda Fabia Rally2 to overall victory?

...the Rally Croatia leads over a mix of fast and winding asphalt tracks, which can feature very different surfaces ranging from rough and abrasive to smooth and slippery?

...the special stage Stojdraga-Gornja Vas on Saturday (April 20) leads over a distance of more than 20 kilometres through the picturesque Žumberak National Park. The so-called “Stage of the Thousand Curves” places particularly high demands on the participants’ pace notes.

Standings WRC2/Drivers (after three rounds)
1 Oliver Solberg (SWE), Škoda, 43 points
2 Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën, 25 points
3 Gus Greensmith (GBR), Škoda, 25 points
4 Nicolas Ciamin (FRA), Hyundai, 24 points
5 Pepe López (ESP), Škoda, 18 points

2024 FIA World Rally Championship

Rallye Monte-Carlo  25-28 January
Rally Sweden 15-18 February
Safari Rally Kenya  28-31 March
Croatia Rally 18-21 April
Rally de Portugal 9-12 May
Rally Italia Sardegna 30 May-2 June
Rally Poland 27-30 June
Rally Latvia 18-21 July
Rally Finland 1-4 August
Acropolis Rally Greece 5-8 September
Rally Chile 26-29 September
Central European Rally (CZE/AUT/DEU) 31 October – 3 November
Rally Japan  21-24 November