Asphalt assault awaits 17 Junior WRC crews in Croatia

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FIA Junior WRC is ready to hit the Tarmac as the series touches down in the capital city of
Zagreb for Croatia Rally this week (18 – 21 April).

With over 300,000 spectators lining the stages in 2022 and 2023, Croatia Rally forms round two of five and, importantly, is the only sealed-surface fixture on the 2024 FIA Junior WRC calendar. However, despite being labelled as a Tarmac event, Croatia presents a unique variety of surfaces ranging from smooth asphalt to badly broken concrete.

Fluctuating grip levels on the undulating roads pose a challenge, and despite the overall high speeds, narrow passages and numerous blind crests and turns demand a cautious approach from competitors. The FIA Junior WRC crews, of which there are 17, must drive the M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evo cars with razor-sharp precision.

The opening round in Sweden was conquered by local driver Mille Johansson, but his absence leaves the door wide open for a new winner to be crowned in Croatia.

Estonian Romet Jürgenson, runner-up at round one, tops the entry and relished the chance to drive his Wolf Lubricants and Pirelli-equipped Fiesta at the Quattro River Rally in Karlovac earlier this month. He not only won his class but finished a mighty fourth overall – 8.3sec ahead of Turkey’s Ali Türkkan, who makes his FIA Junior WRC debut this week.

Eamonn Kelly, winner of this rally last year, and Petr Borodin also entered the warm-up event while Raul Hernández, Tom Rensonnet, and Norbert Maior each have strong asphalt records. They’ll be hoping to stay in front of drivers including Bruno Bulacia and Diego Dominguez, both of whom suffered setbacks in Sweden.

The rally starts in Zagreb on Thursday (18 April). Ahead lie 20 stages totalling 283.28km before Sunday afternoon’s finish.

Maciej Woda, FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, said: “After a thrilling season opener in Sweden, the team at M-Sport Poland have worked incredibly hard preparing the cars to ensure that we’re ready for another exciting week of Junior WRC action in Croatia.

“Croatia Rally is a very challenging event, and one which has served up endless drama in the past. The unpredictable weather, regular grip changes, and dirt being pulled into the road mean that strategy will be the key to success. Let the battle begin!”

FIA Junior WRC Entry List – Croatia Rally 2024

50 Romet Jürgenson / Siim Oja (EST)
51 Eammon Kelly / Connor Mohan (IRL)
52 Raul Hernández / Jose González (ESP)
53 Tom Rensonnet / Manon Deliot (BEL)
54 Diego Domínguez / Rogelio Peñate (PRY)
55 Petr Borodin / Roman Cheprasov (KAZ)
56 Taylor Gill / Daniel Brkic (AUS)
57 Norbert Maior / Francesca Maior (ROU)
58 Max Smart / Cameron Fair (ZAF)
59 Jakub Matulka / Daniel Dymurski (POL)
61 Andre Martinez / Guillermo Sierra (PER)
62 Roberto Blach / Mauro Barreiro (ESP)
63 Nataniel Bruun / Pablo Olmos (BOL)
64 Fabio Schwarz / Bernhard Ettel (DEU)
65 Jose Caparó / Esther Guthiérrez (PER)
66 Bruno Bulacia / Gabriel Morales (BOL)
67 Ali Türkkan / Burak Erdener (TUR)