Croatia hosted the WRC World Rally Championship last weekend, and the extremely well-organized event, which will remain on the championship's racing calendar for years to come, was marred by an incident that landed three Croatian spectators in prison.
As we reported, at one of the speed tests there was an argument and a fight between the spectators, who at one point even found themselves on the road, just before a racing car drove by. It all started when a drink was spilled on one of the spectators, who then threw a can at another spectator. A scuffle ensued, but luckily the stewards, the police and some other spectators took quick action.
Daniel Šaškin, president of the organizing committee of the rally, said about the event: "It was crazy. Fortunately, we had a lot of marshals on the track at these places. The video does not show that there were more stewards on the other side of the jump who were ready to stop the competition vehicle. This is no excuse for the behavior and what happened. We will not allow such behavior and the fact that we sent these people to prison is a strong message to all future viewers."
Šaškin said that almost half a million spectators watched the rally. "The police announced that they recorded over 400.000 spectators. Unfortunately, these three idiots were among them. 99.9% of the other viewers were fantastic. At all the speed tests, they cleaned up all the trash after themselves, they behaved so exemplary. As always, there is a minority that spoils the experience for the rest. As said, we will not allow this, but on this occasion I would like to thank the 2000 security guards who worked diligently to make the event a success."
The police also ordered the hot-headed spectators to pay a fine, and they are also threatened with a ban on entry to next year's event.
Croatia joined the WRC race calendar in 2021 and was very well received. Although the contract for the organization has expired after this year's rally, WRC event director Simon Larkin says that Croatia will host the WRC championship rally next year as well, very likely, as part of a long-term agreement.
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