As expected, the 121.92 competitive kilometres during Rally Croatia’s second leg brought as much drama as the opening act on Friday. With the tarmac roads again being heavily polluted by gravel dragged onto the racing line by corner-cutting, even the most experienced teams couldn’t avoid a spin here and a little off there. Nevertheless, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak, sharing a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo of LOTOS Rally Team, kept their heads cool and completed Saturday’s eight stages without problems. The Polish crew stormed into the lead of WRC3 category, subsequently increasing their advantage to 46.6 seconds until the leg’s finish. With Finns Emil Lindholm/Mikael Korhonen in second and 2019 FIA European Rally Champions Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock (GBR/GBR) in third, ŠKODA even enjoys a 1-2-3 in WRC3. Fabrizio Zaldivar/Carlos del Barrio (PRY/ESP) in another Toksport WRT run ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo round up the top six of the category.
Team Toksport WRT’s Marco Bulacia (BOL) and co-driver Marcelo Der Ohannesian (ARG) also enjoyed a trouble-free second leg. The South American crew easily defended fourth position in WRC2. Team mates Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene, who came to Zagreb as WRC2 points leaders, had lost 40 minutes already during the Friday leg. Damaging the rear suspension of the Toksport WRT ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo with a minor slide off the road, they had to throw in some ingenious roadside repairs, to stay in the competition at all. „We lost the rally,“ Mikkelsen admitted after his mishap. „Now we are just trying to learn the stages for the years to come.“ The two Norwegians did exactly that. Staying out of any further trouble during the Saturday stages, they advanced to WRC2 sixth.
Rally Croatia ends on Sunday after four more stages covering 78.58 kilometres. The winners’ ceremony will start at 3:30 pm local.
Standings Rally Croatia after Leg 2 (WRC2)
1. Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, 2:13:41.8 hrs.
2. Suninen/Markkula (FIN/FIN), Ford Fiesta Rally2 Mk2, +1:03.6 min.
3. Gryazin/Aleksandrov (RAF/RAF), VW Polo GTI Rally 2, +1:18.5 min.
4. Bulacia/Der Ohannesian (BOL/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +2:15.3 min.
5. Brazzoli/Barone (ITA/ITA), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +18:08.3 min.
6. Mikkelsen/Fløene (NOR/NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +40:12.8 min.
Standings Rally Croatia after Leg 2 (WRC3)
1. Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 2:15:17.2 hrs.
2. Lindholm/Korhonen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +46.6 sec.
3. Ingram/Whittock (GBR/GBR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +2:53.3 min.
4. Rossel/Coria (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +3:01.7 min.
5. Ciamin/Roche (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +3:32.9 min.
6. Fabrizio Zaldivar/Carlos del Barrio (PRY/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +8:34.6 min.
Number of the day: 1-2-3
Three ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews not only hold WRC3 positions one, two and three after the second leg of Rally Croatia. This sequence also describes the progress of these trio during Saturday’s eight stages. Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (POL/POL) advanced one position from second to first. Emil Lindholm/Mikael Korhonen (FIN/FIN) gained two places from fourth on Friday to second on Saturday. And Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock (GBR/GBR) even jumped three steps from P6 to P3.
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
Rallye Monte-Carlo 21 – 24 January
Arctic Rally Finland powered by CapitalBox 26 – 28 February
Rally Croatia 22 – 25 April
Vodafone Rally Portugal 20 – 23 May
Rally Italia Sardegna 3 – 6 June
Safari Rally Kenya 24 – 27 June
Rally Estonia 15 – 18 July
Renties Ypres Rally Belgium 13 – 15 August
Acropolis Rally Greece 9 – 12 September
Rally Finland 30 September – 3 October
RallyRACC Rally de España 14 – 17 October
Rally Japan 11 –14 November