Krisztian Hideg and Istvan Kerek, members of Auto Club Delta Sport came in first with a total time of 30:58.4 minutes. The Croatian crew drove a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX. It has been somewhat of a photo finish as the time difference between the first and second placed crew is a mere second.
“We’re tremendously happy to have won here,” said Hideg. “This is our first time competing in Kumrovec and that makes us a proud bunch. The organisation has been great.”
Second place belonged to Antal Kovacs and Gergo Istovics of Hungary, who clocked in one second slower than Hideg and Kerek in their Ford Fiesta R5. Another Croatian crew have found their way onto the podium as Daniel Šaškin and Saša Bitterman (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X) finished third at 31:14.3.
“There has been no lack of excitement at the very end of the rally,” said Šaškin. “The all time high number of crews shows that the organisers have done a great job and it serves as additional motivation to all other drivers. The track has been challenging, the organisation has been great. I’m very happy with my drive. Congratulations to all other drivers who finished.”
Željko Štefanić, the director of the rally was happy with how it all turned out.
“After a lot of hard work that spanned over multiple months, about 15-20 people realised this project,” said Štefanić. “It’s the product of a long period of preparation work, inviting drivers, and we won a lot with the fact that we moved the date of the rally a month ahead - we’re the first rally in the region, therefore everybody wanted to come down for some test drives which is excellent for us."
A surprising 59 out of 70 crews from six countries have finished the rally, which comes as a sort of pleasant surprise given that it is fairly odd in the sport of rally for such a high percentage of crews to finish. It definitely is a reason for the organisers and drivers to be pleased that there was only a small amount of accidents and technical difficulties.
The specificity of Kumrovec stages lies in a narrow track with many linked curves and crests. Often lots of gravel gets on the asphalt which is put out of the roadside as drivers select the ideal line. For years, the audience recognises Rally Kumrovec as an event that brings attractive rides with lots of jumps.
In the previous four rallies Hungarian driver Janos Szilagyi was the best in such conditions. He has won three times, and in 2013 he had to withdraw after half of the rally due to illness of his co-driver while he held the lead. Daniel Šaškin of Poreč has one victory in Kumrovec.
The Fifth INA Rally Kumrovec has been supported by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
Photo: Uroš Modlic