Dario Šimić Aims to Secure New WRC Contract for Croatia Rally

The Croatia Rally, a major WRC event, is set to continue with a new contract, boosting Croatia's tourism and motorsports reputation. Fierce competition between top drivers like Neuville and Evans captivates fans.

Salman Khan
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Dario Šimić Aims to Secure New WRC Contract for Croatia Rally

Dario Šimić Aims to Secure New WRC Contract for Croatia Rally

Dario Šimić, the newly appointed president of the Croatian Automobile and Karting Federation (HAKS), anticipates signing a new contract with the World Rally Championship (WRC) to continue hosting the Croatia Rally. The event, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, is a major sporting spectacle for the country.

Šimić's primary goal is to ensure the Croatia Rally remains a fixture on the WRC calendar. The rally, which is the fourth stage of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship, took place from April 17th to 21st this year. It featured a mix of asphalt roads and challenging gravel tracks, testing the skills of the world's top rally drivers as they navigated tight corners, swift straights, and unpredictable surfaces in wet weather conditions.

The competition was fierce throughout the opening day, with Thierry Neuville of Hyundai and Toyota's Elfyn Evans battling for the lead. Despite encountering a puncture, Neuville maintained his position, finishing the day level on time with Evans. Sébastien Ogier made a comeback in the later stages, while the WRC2 category saw Citroën drivers Yohan Rossel and Nikolay Gryazin dominate.

Why this matters: The Croatia Rally is a significant event that showcases the country's ability to host world-class sporting competitions. Securing a new contract with the WRC would not only boost Croatia's tourism industry but also solidify its position as a premier destination for motorsports enthusiasts.

As the rally progressed, Neuville displayed impressive skill, winning four of the eight stages on the first day. He initially held an 8.6-second lead over Evans and was more than 21 seconds ahead of Ogier. However, a puncture in the sixth stage on the muddy, hilly terrain outside Zagreb cost him valuable time. Neuville, who is aiming for his second victory this season after his triumph in Monte Carlo, currently holds a six-point lead over Evans in the world championship standings.

Looking ahead, the rally is expected to be slower and more slippery on Saturday's eight special stages. Šimić remains confident that a new agreement can be reached with the WRC to keep the Croatia Rally on the calendar, ensuring its continued presence as a highlight of the championship. The event has become a popular destination for rally fans and competitors alike, showcasing Croatia's stunning landscapes and challenging roads.

Key Takeaways

  • HAKS president aims to renew Croatia Rally's WRC contract, a major sporting event.
  • The 2023 Croatia Rally featured a tight battle between Neuville and Evans, with Neuville leading.
  • Neuville's puncture cost him valuable time, but he still holds a 6-point lead in the WRC.
  • The rally showcases Croatia's ability to host world-class motorsports competitions, boosting tourism.
  • Šimić remains confident a new WRC agreement can be reached to keep the Croatia Rally on the calendar.