David Botka and Mark Mesterhazi (Škoda Fabia R5) have won the 44th edition of the Croatia Rally. The Hungarian crew were the fastest team all weekend, followed by their fellow countrymen, Andras Hadik and Krisztian Kertesz (Ford Fiesta R5), who clocked in 22,3 seconds behind them. The third place went to the Slovenian crew Rok Turk and Blanka Kacin in their Peugeot 208 T16 R5. Croatia’s best ranked crew were Krisztian Hideg and Istvan Kerek, coming in fifth in their Škoda Fabia R5, which was enough to guarantee them the title of the Croatian Championship in the second to last rally of the season.
„We had a good feeling from the very get go, even during the shakedown we set a good time. During the first two special stages, we drove with full speed, we were 100% in it to win it, and today we wanted to be even faster. We had a good start, then were a little sloppy during the second stage today, but from there on out, we were back in our rhythm and the rest is history. The special stages here are very demanding and challenging, but it was a lot of fun driving them. Croatia Rally can, and will be a member of the WRC,“ said David Botka on the finish podium in Poreč..
A total of 64 crews started out of Poreč, headed out on the 155 kilometer long and demanding itinerary, while 45 made it across the finish line. Fortunately, there were no severe crashes, most retirements were caused by technical difficulties. The entire event was accompanied by perfect weather.
The Croatia Rally has once again proven itself to be the most difficult automobile competition in Croatia, while the fact that crews from 12 different countries partook in the event confirms the rally’s reputation in the world. The crew that racked up the most kilometers travelling came from Taiwan, but was forced to retire due to a crash right during the first day of the event. As guaranteed by a letter of intent from the WRC Promotor, Croatia Rally’s constant growth should be rewarded by a spot in the 2019 WRC calendar