Very first Croatia rally was held more than four decades ago. It’s first edition was hald in year 1974, when it was called INA Delta TLX Rally. It took only three years to grow from a regional race into a national championship event of former Yugoslavia. From the very beginning the main characteristic of the rally were the extremely long itineraries, which passed through Gorski Kotar, Lika, Primorje and Continental Croatia till mid eighties.
First international recognition the race experienced in year 1986, when it entered the FIA calendar. The same year special stages located at Žumberak, Plešivica, Zagrebačka gora and Hrvatsko Zagorje were driven by the crews from Austria, Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia. It was the beginning of project with a goal of entering the European Championship. First nomination towards FIA was sent the same year 1986. But, the race had to wait the European pedigree for a long six years.
War years despite, Delta rally has become recognized internationally. The event was growing rapidly even in difficult period one year after another. Good organization has brought it a coefficient 10 by the year 1995, and a year later the organizer nominated it under the name Croatia rally for the highest coefficient of the contemporary European Championship – 20. It took even eleven years till the prestigious series in Croatia.
In late 2006 FIA has reported that the European Championship (ERC) will spread. 34. Croatia rally 2007. has entered the calendar as a third out of ten ERC events. In the first ERC Croatia rally victory was won by the domestic crew Juraj Šebalj and Toni Klinc in Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The remaining two rallies held in Zagreb and its surroundings were won by foreign competitiors – Italians Corrado Fontana and Renzo Casazza, as well as Bulgarians Krum Donchev and Peter Yordanov.
After three successfully organized ERC events in Zagreb, the economic recession has caused the relocation of the race to Rijeka. Croatia Rally in year 2010 was organized in by the Automotive Association of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, and in the next two years by local AC MRC. Special stages were held in Gorski Kotar, Učka, Ćićarija, Istria, and particularly attractive was Super special stage at legendary track Preluk.
In year 2013 Croatia Rally has moved once again. This time to Istria and the town of Poreč, which is the host and co-organizer of the event. The rally was organized by the Croatian Car and Karting Federation and the special stages were driven at Učka, Ćićarija and in the triangle of the cities of Buzet, Motovun and Pazin.
The most wins in the history of Croatia Rally were achieved by Slovenians, driver Branislav Kuzmič and co-driver Rudi Šali, each with five victories. They are followed by the Croatian crew Juraj Šebalj – Toni Klinc with four victories and Croatian driver Tihomir Filipović and his co-driver Davor Devunić, with three victories each.