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Toyota Gazoo Racing back on asphalt roads of the Croatia Rally

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Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team will aim to conquer the challenging asphalt roads of the Croatia Rally once more at round four of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship on April 18-21. Focus also on Gr Yaris Rally2 in WRC2

Since Croatia first joined the WRC schedule three years ago, TGR-WRT has tasted victory with three different drivers in as many editions. Two of those drivers return as part of its line-up for this year’s event, with the 2021 winner Sébastien Ogier to make his second start of the season alongside 2023 victor Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta, who has a trio of top-six finishes under his belt in Croatia.

After achieving a record-extending victory on Safari Rally Kenya, TGR-WRT leads the manufacturers’ championship by four points while Evans leads its challenge in the drivers’ championship, just six points from the leader.

The rally continues to be based in the Croatian capital Zagreb – although the service park this year moves to a new location at the Westgate shopping mall to the north-west of the city centre. The stages take place across the north of the country, close to neighbouring Slovenia, on roads that feature a wide variety of different asphalt types. This means that grip levels are constantly changing, which can be further complicated by rain and mud. Some sections are technical and twisting, while many others are fast and flowing with jumps and crests.

After a shakedown and ceremonial start on Thursday, the rally begins on Friday with its longest day. Four stages take the rally south-west from Zagreb towards the coastal city of Rijeka, which hosts a lunchtime regroup. After a tyre-fitting zone, the same four stages will be tackled in reverse order in the afternoon on the way back to Zagreb.

Saturday runs to a more typical format, with a loop of four stages to the west and south of Zagreb to be run twice either side of mid-day service. As usual, Sunday’s finale takes place to the north of Zagreb where a pair of stages will be run twice, with Zagorska Sela – Kumrovec once more hosting the rally-ending Power Stage.

Four GR Yaris Rally2 cars are entered in Croatia, with Sami Pajari (Printsport) and Georg Linnamäe (RedGrey Team) joined by the TGR WRC Challenge Program duo of Yuki Yamamoto and Hikaru Kogure, who are registered to compete for WRC2 points.