Tue 23 Apr 2024

Croatia Rally delivers thrills on and off the stages

It’s rare that you have the chance to meet your heroes, grab a selfie with Elfyn Evans, an autograph from Thierry Neuville and a new t-shirt from United Colors of Benetton.

Last week’s Croatia Rally provided just such an opportunity. Moving the service park out of the centre of the nation’s capital to a shopping centre in the outskirts of Zagreb was a hugely popular move.

Day two of the event offered enormous numbers of Saturday shoppers the opportunity for a first touch with the FIA World Rally Championship. The numbers of Toyota flags being waved, M-Sport caps put on and Hyundai t-shirts worn was a sight to behold.

The quid pro quo for the teams and crews was the opportunity to do a bit of shopping and try some Croatian cuisine – both were well received. And the innovate Croatian organisers covered the best of both worlds, with the ceremonial formalities of event remaining in the capital itself.

As ever, crowds were huge out of the stages, with hundreds of thousands watching. Anybody sitting was left right on the very edge of their seat as they enjoyed one of the most nail-biting battles for the lead in recent history.

But for much of the time, it was standing room only as fans packed into spectator zones bathed in sunshine – the pre-event snow melting in time for Friday and Saturday’s much-anticipated rain never arriving.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM