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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Rougher Croatia WRC phases would require extra puncture administration

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The reigning world champion won last year’s visit to Croatia after coming by way of an exhilarating ultimate stage showdown with then Hyundai driver Ott Tanak.

Whereas the route is basically unchanged from final 12 months, Rovanpera believes the roads are rougher and can characteristic extra cuts with extra sharp edges on the sections of differing tarmac in comparison with 12 months in the past.

Important rain within the lead as much as the occasion has ensured the cuts are full with mud which is able to then be introduced onto the highway floor making the situations more and more slippery after every go.

“It appears there’s much more cuts which are actually tough and deep with extra form edges on the tarmac and there have been a whole lot of punctures on the recce which isn’t regular,” mentioned Rovanpera.

“For me it appears rougher than final 12 months. I had many cuts that had been superb final 12 months and this 12 months they aren’t. It appears so much rougher.

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“I believe it it will likely be a bit extra puncture administration this 12 months than regular. We had so many punctures on the recce, it may be that if you’re extra intelligent it can reward you extra this 12 months.”

Rovanpera topped Thursday’s shakedown held in a subdued environment following the dying of Hyundai driver Craig Breen in testing for the event last week.

Toyota team-mate and championship chief Sebastien Ogier, who gained the inaugural WRC go to to Croatia in 2021, shared Rovanpera’s views on the phases this weekend.

Sebastien Ogier, Benjamin Veillas, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Picture by: Toyota Racing

Ogier, competing in a partial coming this 12 months, will begin first on the highway advantage of his win in Mexico final month, however feels this benefit will likely be diminished if the climate stays dry resulting from mud already on the phases.

“It’s worse than two years in the past however we didn’t have any rain,” mentioned Ogier, who was third quickest in shakedown, whereas team-mate Elfyn Evans managed just one shakedown run resulting from a technical challenge.

“It was raining the final week roughly and the cuts are actually stuffed with mud and after the recce there’s already so much on the highway.

“It’s by no means dangerous to be in entrance however it’s already soiled anyway so I don’t anticipate an actual benefit, however it can rely on the climate as a result of if it rains once more it can create extra mud, and it’ll worsen, however sure the puncture threat is there.

“Whether it is muddy and raining the benefit of being first on the highway might be huge as we noticed with Kalle final 12 months.

“There are some sections the place it is advisable do you finest to remain protected.

“It’s troublesome as a result of right here the quantity of cuts are enormous and you can’t keep away from them in any other case you’ll lose a minute per stage.

“That is the danger it is advisable handle as finest as you may. I’ve to say I worry a number of the sections a bit.”

Toyota has registered only Rovanpera and Ogier to score manufacturer points as an alternative of its regular three crews, in a transfer of solidarity after Hyundai’s determination to field a reduced two-car line-up following Breen’s dying. Hyundai is carrying a special tribute livery in honour of the Irishman.

The rally begins on Friday with crews set to sort out eight phases.

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