Round 3, Croatia
CROATIA RALLY is the oldest automobile race in the Republic of Croatia. It is one of the most demanding and best quality events in this part of Europe. It was founded in 1974 in Zagreb as a regional Croatian championship. The first race was held in the Primorsko-goranska County region with the destination set as Rijeka. Three years later, the rally commenced on the legendary track at Preluk near Opatija and attributed points for the Yugoslavian Championship. Following years of candidature, in June of 1992 and in its nineteenth year of running, the event received a European designation of a low coefficient of 2. The organisers proudly point out that it is the first international sporting event entrusted to Croatian organisers following the independence of the Republic of Croatia.
The quality of organisation and support over many years by the main sponsor INA-Industrija nafte d.d. Zagreb, along with support from high-ranking sporting and political officials, led to the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) raising the rally rating in 1994 to a coefficient of 5, and only a year afterwards in 1995 to the prestigious coefficient of 10.
The race was tied to Zagreb throughout a period of many years. In its thirty-seventh year of running, the rally returned to Rijeka! The MRCsport, auto club from Rijeka, accepted the obligation of organising the event, whereas the City of Rijeka became host to this valuable sporting event.
In its thirty-eighth year of running, the rally has achieved very high marks from the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). Race participants are also pleased with the organisation, and exceptional interest in covering all programs relating to the race have been expressed by Rijeka inhabitants which is indeed a justifiable reason for the City of Rijeka to provide support and in the years ahead.
The thirty-ninth Croatia Rally has all the prerequisites of becoming a leading European rally on account of its good organisation.