DEBUT WRC APPEARANCE FOR CROATIA
As a phenomenon or better yet, a brand, WRC (World Rally Championship) is undoubtedly alongside competitions such as F1. I must admit, though, that I have been a devotee of WRC ever since I was a child when I first smelled high-octane fuel at the rally Saturnus, which took place near my hometown. Thus, when such a spectacle is hosted in the region, it is logical that I will see it live, even though during current corona times, that is a rather logistical challenge. I spent the past weekend among the picturesque hills of Croatian Zagorje and the hidden valleys of Žumberak. Seeing it live is the only way to experience the race in its entirety. It is all about socialising with like-minded individuals, occasionally being astonished by peculiar habits, and getting lost among the stages. Above all, it is about passionately cheering and admiring the skills and knowledge of the best drivers in the world.
Needles to say, the point of the event is the race itself. The Kumrovec stage is ideal for spectating, as it connects neck-breaking sections and technically demanding corners. I can imagine huge crowds in the hills of Zagorje in the future, even though we were in large numbers this year. It appears that the number of attendees surprised the organisers themselves. The participants were supposed to keep a distance of two-and-a-half metres and wear protective masks. Yet, that was hardly the case, as can be seen in the photos. On the other hand, I must admit that I have not been so near “the heroes of speed” for quite some time. The positive atmosphere represents capital for the future, regardless of the sometimes loose crowd behaviour.
Another positive aspect of the event, is in my opinion, the decision to make one of the main partners of the event the Zagreb Tourist Board. Although I do not know of all the details of their investment into the event, I am sure that every invested euro will be repaid. Moreover, the brand successfully promoted the lesser-known surroundings of Zagreb. After returning from a petrol-fueled weekend, I look forward to a more tranquil trip to Žumberak and Samobor in the future. If you have not heard of these Croatian gems before, quickly check them out.
In the following days, we will write about what event organisers can learn from WRC, as the competition is one of the best examples of how to create events during the corona crisis.
A benchmark for all doubters is a case example from WRC Portugal 2019. At the moment, the details of the Croatian Rally are unknown.
– 836 million viewers online
– 4.3 million spectators online
– 67 million EUR – the economic return of the race through the media, of indirect impact
– 73 million EUR – the direct expenditure of all attendees of the rally
Source: Automóvel Club de Portugal (ACP)
Find out more at WRC’s official website