Croatia Rally‘s debut round at the WRC could not have gone better. The race has provided masses of excitement throughout, keeping fans at the edge of their seats right until the very end.
Both the Toyotas of Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier together with the Hyundai of Thierry Neuville battled for the glory right until the final Power Stange while running a mere eight seconds apart. What more could you ask for?
Neuville completed the podium behind both the warriors from the Japanese team. This outcome has reshuffled the standings and placed crown defendant Ogier at the lead, ousting his colleague Kalle Rovanperä.
The young Finn was, in fact, the greatest loser of the Croatia Rally. Rovanperä arrived in the Baltic country as the youngest WRC leader of all times but was knocked out of the game at the first special after suffering a nasty accident.
Unsurprisingly, his inexperience has taken the best of him. As he accrues WRC kilometres, however, he should get better at handling every tricky situation.
Two of his rivals from Hyundai provided the second major disappointment. After a brilliant performance at Arctic Rally Finland, Ott Tänak hasn’t been able to find a steady rhythm aboard his Hyundai i20 WRC. In the end, he could only manage a fourth-place at almost a minute and a half from the top.
His partner Craig Breen, was not at his best either. For starters, the Briton got a seat at the Croatian round against all odds when the obvious choice would have been Dani Sordo, a renowned specialist on this rally’s surface conditions. In the end, Breen finished in eighth place, four minutes behind the winner.
All in all, a very successful round for Toyota. This 1-2 has propped the Japanese team up ahead in the battle for the title. Hyundai’s experience was not a total disaster either despite the poor performances of Tänak and Breen. Neuville is now second in the standings with 53 points, 8 behind Ogier.
Last but not least, we have to mention M-Sport‘s extraordinary results. The Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux, who alternates at the wheel of the second Fiesta WRC with the Finn Teemu Suninen,(P2 in WRC category) finished in a sensational fifth place, two places ahead of the team’s full-time driver Gus Greensmith.
Images of Croatia Rally. WRC.