18:33 / 26.03.2023.

Author: Nikola Badovinac

Croatia gearing up for WRC Rally

WRC Croatia Rally

WRC Croatia Rally

Foto: Matija Habljak / Pixsell

After Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico, the world's best rally drivers are coming to Croatia, where the third edition of the Croatia Rally will take place from 20 to 23 April.

Croatia is the fourth of the 13 planned stops in the World WRC Championship calendar, and about 60 crews are expected to arrive in Zagreb.

An uncertain race is expected. At the top of the world championship, the first five drivers are only 12 points apart. Frenchman Sebastien Ogier (56) leads the way, ahead of Belgian Thierry Neuville (53) and current world champion Finn Kalle Rovanpera (52). They are followed by Estonian Ott Tanak (47) and Britton Elfyn Evans (44).

At the previous two editions of the WRC competition in Croatia, the decision on the winner took place literally in the last meters, so the audience enjoyed the uncertain endings.

"Our story is growing and looking very good. In the first year, with the COVID measures, we had about 50,000 spectators, while last year there were more than 300,000 spectators. I hope that we will grow to maybe half a million viewers this year," the president of the Organising Committee, Daniel Saškin, said at a press conference in the INA Business Building in Zagreb.

"We are fighting to stabilise the budget. The first year there was COVID, last year Russia's aggression against Ukraine started. All this affects tourism and large events that are the reason for coming to Croatia. I hope for a calmer year, more stable weather," he added, stressing that a large number of foreign journalists are coming to Croatia again.

Last year, according to an official study by the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, the WRC Croatia Rally brought over €105 million to Croatian tourism, with more than 310,000 spectators following the competition and as many as 400 media representatives who arrived from abroad. The data indicate that this is one of the most promising sports events in Croatia and the region, whose contribution to the development of tourism offer and promotion of Croatia can only grow further in the future.

The president of the Croatian Auto and Karting Association, Davorin Stetner, said that he had heard a lot of praise for the Croatian rally in the world.

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