Croatia rally for the first time in the 42-year history has a winners from Turkey – Murat Bostanci and Onur Vatansever in Ford Fiesta R5 drove fastest through the difficult itinerary with over 190 kilometers of Special Stages. Second place was won by Hermann Gassner junior and Ursula Mayrhofer, the German-Austrian crew who competed in Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X R4. Darko Peljhan and Jaka Cevc won third place overal in Mistubishi Lancer Evo IX.
Winning in Croatia granted Vatansever European Rally Trophy title. He also became the first ever driver from Turkey to win international title in the rally.
“Fourth place would have been enough for us to confirm the title, and that’s why we did not want to take any chances. I felt comfortable in Croatia, Porec is beautiful town. Special Stages were challenging and tricky, but we managed to get to the finish and win. I hope we will come back to Croatia Rally next year.”- Bostanci said.
Demanding Special Stages driven on Saturday offered a real drama. Condition of the track was changing hour by hour, and part of the crews fall in the standings or had to withdraw due to technical difficulties. Bostanci managed to leave competition behind despite a spin at the first Special Stage. Krisztian Hideg and Istvan Kerek were second for a long time, but their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX broke down on a road section prior to SS 9. Then the third place Juraj Sebalj and Toni Klinc progressed to the second position, but soon their problems began. Three Special Stage before the finish their gearbox got stuck in second and then in the third gear, in which they drove to the finish. They won fifth place in the overall standings.
“Bostanci was too fast. His car is very fast, which allows him tactics. He can push it when he needs, and otherwise he can slow down. I’m sorry that I didn’t end up fighting with Hideg, but this was a difficult rally and we ourselves had trouble with the car in the end.” – Sebalj concluded.
Only 23 crews out of 38 which started this rally made it to the finish. Main reason of the retirements were technical. At Croatia Rally Sebalj and Klinc confirmed their sixth consecutive title of Croatian Champions and claimed the Diamond helmet. Marsel Katic and Denis Rubinic from AC Opatija Motorsport confirmed their third consecutive title of Croatian Champions in class 4 and AC Delta Sport Zagreb has defended the club title.
1. Bostanci-Vatansever (Tur, Ford Fiesta R5) 2:01:02,8
2. Gassner jun.-Mayrhofer (Ger/Aut, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X R4) +3:21,8
3. Peljhan-Cevc (Slo, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) +6:00,3
4. Puskadi-Godor (Hun, Skoda Fabia S2000) +6:19,1
5. Šebalj-Klinc (Cro, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) +6:49,2
1. Sebalj-Klinc (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 2:07:46,0
2. Dobrila-Rastegorac (Renault Clio R3) +8:36,9
3. Katić-Rubinić (VW Polo 1.4) +17:13,1