Although marked with the number thirteen, this year’s edition, as the strongest edition ever in the history of this rally show, was successfully held and the entire race weekend was filled with positive energy.
Martin László from Hungary, with co-driver Viktor Bán in Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, won the winner’s throne 13 RSSD 2023.
It all started with an impressive list of entries of almost 120 crews from 9 European countries, and the number of quality crews and the variety of cars has not yet been seen in our country. After the official verification, the start list came out, including 108 crews that arrived in Sveta Nedelja and Savršćak near Samobor.
Saturday started with Shakedown, where it was clear that the fight for the podium would be sharp and tense until the very end. Hungarian driver Sasa Ollé achieved the fastest time with co-driver Lilla Paukovics in Škoda Fabia R5, and he was awarded a special award of the 4th Robert Vojvodić Memorial, which is organized as a sign of memory of an unforgettable friend and colleague.
Saturday evening was filled with a program in the magically decorated Sveta Nedelja. A ceremonial start was held after selecting the starting positions for the first ten crews according to the achieved best times at the Shakedown. It is almost impossible to describe the positive energy and euphoria that spread far beyond the main square in Sveta Nedelja. “There is nothing like it in the whole world”, “You can only experience something like this at RSSD”, and “What a Monte Carlo, this is the top” were the comments. Socializing and rejoicing continued until late evening; no one wanted to break the spell.
The weather forecast for the weekend was almost perfect, cold, but with the sun and, most importantly, no rain. And it was exactly like that. Already from early morning, while the sun was slowly waking up, rally enthusiasts were looking for ideal positions to watch and enjoy. During the day, the embankment next to the track was almost full, as was the Savršćak Arena.
On Sunday, according to the plan, four special stages were conducted. The winner, Martin László, made a strong start from the start, setting the fastest times in all the speed tests, and at the end, he proudly climbed to the podium’s top step. He performed for the first time and entered the RSSD Hall of Fame forever. The sixteen-year-old Giovanni Trentin from Italy won only one step lower, with co-driver Danilo Fappani in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.
Mark Škulj from Slovenia finished third with co-driver Matej Čara in Škoda Fabia Rally2. Such young drivers, especially Giovanni, were on the podium for the first time. But he was not the youngest in the competition. Now, the brilliant 14-year-old Matteo Bernini has entered the history of RSSD as the youngest behind the wheel of a Fiat 124 Abarth Rally, who managed to reach and overtake even those in front of him in the first gears. This finally proved that introducing young people to the world of rallying, with which Santa Domenica started, made sense, and now it has experienced remarkable success. Young drivers sovereignly dominated the competition, with as many as thirteen competitors in the Tokić Junior Trophy competition.
With numerous foreign crews, local drivers could show their skills and win places on the podiums. Young Franko Vrbanović in a vintage Škoda Favorit with experienced co-driver Zoran Raštegorc raced to third place in the Historic Trophy and class 5. The crew of Martin Ravenščak and Dora Ravenščak also climbed to the podium, winning third place in class 2 in Ford Fiesta Rally3.
In the first 25 crews of this year’s RSSD, returnees to the rally track, Siniša Crnojević and Martina Maretić, they were finished 12th overall. There is also Niko Pulić with co-driver Tajana Koren Ivančević, who finished in 14th place overall.
With brutal driving, the Mikulec brothers, Mislav and Marko, won the RSSD2 class; they were the only Croatian crew that managed to win in any of the classes in the international competition and finished in 15th place overall.
First the organizer and then the driver, Daniel Vojvodić with co-driver Filip Puzić, did a great job in the Suzuki Swift ZMX, which he drove for the first time and raced to 23rd place in the overall stand. Experienced Nenad Lončarić and Tajana Vojvodić Pinky closed the list of the first 25.
Now, at the end of the 13 RSSD 2023. we can say: Everyone won! The drivers enjoyed chasing the gravel beauty lit by the winter sun. Despite the low temperatures, numerous spectators followed the exciting events on the track with smiles. The RSSD team, the organizers and everyone involved in realizing this top event do not hide their satisfaction and happiness after an unforgettable weekend.
13 RSSD 2023 was held successfully. It was a superb spectacle we can see and experience only in Sveta Nedelja. Year after year, this rally show is getting better and better, so the question is slowly being asked whether it can do better. The RSSD team briefly says: “CAN!”. We must wait for next year and look forward to the surprises in store for us.
See you at the 14 RSSD 2024!