3rd round, Rally Croatia
Ogier wins after a battle until the very end
Rally Croatia became the second event to debut in the WRC calendar this year, after Arctic Rally Finland.
The action unfolded dramatically, with three crews battling for victory, that was judged in the very last corner.
At the end, Sebastien Ogier-Julien Ingrassia won in Croatia, with a margin of just 0,6 seconds over their teammates at Toyota, Elfyn Evans-Scott Martin. The British crew was leading until the Power Stage, but a rapid time of the 7 times World Champions and a slight mistake of theirs in the very last turn of the event, made the difference for the Frenchmen.
The podium was completed, for the third time in a row after Rallye Monte Carlo and Arctic Rally Finland, by Thierry Neuville-Martijn Wydaeghe who has led the event and gave their very best until the end.
Estonians Ott Tanak-Martin Jarveoja finished in fourth place, further behind their teammates and were followed by Adrien Fourmaux-Renaud Jamoul, who impressed in their first WRC event in top specification machinery.
The Top-6 was rounded, for the third consecutive WRC event, by Takamoto Katsuta-Dan Barritt.
WRC2 category was won by reigning Champions Mads Ostberg-Torstein Eriksen (TRT, Citroen C3 Rally2), who made their first appearance in 2021. Meanwhile, Poles Kajetan Kajetanowicz-Maciej Szczepanjak (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo) claimed their first victory of the year, in WRC3.
Among the frontrunners, Kalle Rovanpera-Jonne Halttunen who travelled to Croatia leading the Drivers' Standings, crashed out in the very first stage of the rally.
Special Stages: 20
Length: 300,32 kms.
Final Classification – Top 10
1 S. Ogier-J. Ingrassia Toyota Yaris WRC 2:51:22.9
2 E. Evans-S. Martin Toyota Yaris WRC +0.6
3 T. Neuville-M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +8.1
4 O. Tanak-M. Jarveoja Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:25.1
5 A. Fourmaux-R. Jamoul Ford Fiesta WRC +3:09.7
6 T. Katsuta-D. Barritt Toyota Yaris WRC +3:31.8
7 G. Greensmith-C. Patterson Ford Fiesta WRC +3:58.8
8 C. Breen-P. Nagle Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +4:28.2
9 M. Ostberg-T. Eriksen Citroen C3 Rally2/1st WRC2 +10:00.8
10 T. Suninen-M. Markkula Ford Fiesta Rally2 MkII/2nd WRC2 +10:29.3
Fastest times: Ogier 7, Neuville 6, Evans 4, Katsuta 2, Tanak 1
Rally leader/stage: 1-8 Neuville, 9-17 Ogier, 18-19 Evans, 20 Ogier