Croatia Rally will mark debut in the ERC of the new Minis
The importance of the Croatia Rally, second round of the 2011 FIA European Rally Championship, goes well beyond the high one for the speciality (the continental series is second in importance only to the World Championship) and is definitely one of the most awaited and important events of the nation, to the point that the event should be greeted by the President of the Republic, Ivo Josipovic, who has already confirmed his presence in Rijeka in the days of the rally: He might greet the winner on the finish podium in the pedestrian town centre.
Meanwhile the approach to the event, just over a month away (but the entries will close on May 5 th) has seen a rapid increase in the entries, as most of the 25 drivers who have already entered the FIA European Rally Championship have declared their intention to be at the start and some have already sent their entry to a race which is very appreciated for its programme: the service area in the pedestrian centre of Rijeka, three days of competition between May 19 th and 21 st with a compact asphalt route of 500 km in total, 250 of which are timed and divided in 15 special stages one of which is the 'superspecial' next to Rijeka. The three legs are also well balanced. On Thursday shakedown in the morning and 2 SS in the evening, run twice. On Friday, the longest day (from 11.00 to 21.30) with three special stages to be repeated twice and the superspecial in the end. Finally, the third day (Saturday between 11.00 and 17.00) with another 2 stages to be repeated twice.
Among the favourites for the title already confirmed, Polish Maciej Oleksowicz (Ford Fiesta S2000) and Czech Antonín Tlusťák (Skoda Fabia S2000) while next week (after the running this weekend of the first race of the series, the Mille Miglia Rally) entries are expected from several other Italian drivers like Renato Travaglia (Skoda Fabia S2000), Alessandro Perico, Luca Betti and Elia Bossalini (Peugeot 207 S2000), Andrea Dallavilla and Polish Michal Solowow (Ford Fiesta S2000). Moreover, the race will certainly mark the debut in the European Rally Championship of the new Mini John Cooper Works 1.6 T: Corrado Fontana will certainly drive one and Luigi Fontana and Piero Longhi probably will too.
This is the full list of the drivers entered in the European Championship att April 12 th:
Szymon Ruta, Maciej Rzeznik, Petar Gyoshev, Giovanni Vergnano, Dimitar Iliev, Rok Turk, Luca Rossetti, Piero Longhi, Alessandro Perico, Mathieu Biasion, Maciej Oleksowicz, Antonín Tlusťák, Corrado Fontana, Luigi Fontana, Francesco Parli, Renato Travaglia, Luca Betti, Michal Solowow, Giandomenico Basso, Stefano Albertini, Cyril Vosahlo, Uroš Petrič, Elia Bossalini, Andrea Dallavilla, Marco Signor.